Mitchelstown Cave

Useful Information

Location: Co. Tipperary. Mitchelstown lies half way between Cork and Cashel on the N8. From Mitchelstown follow the N8 direction Cashel, 3 km behind Kilbeheny turn right towards Bunrcourt, 3.2 km off the N8. 13 km from Mitchelstown, 15 km from Cahir.
Open: APR to SEP daily 10-17:30.
OCT to MAR daily 10-varying closing times.
Fee: Adults EUR 7, Children (0-12) EUR 2.
Groups: Adults GBP 2, Children GBP 1.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=2,500 m, T=12 °C.
Guided tours: L=1,000 m, D=30 min.
Address: Mitchelstown Cave, Burncourt, Cahir, County Tipperary, Tel. +353-52-67246, Fax: +353-52-67943. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1601 the Earl of Desmond took refuge in the old cave.
1833 New Cave discovered by Michael Condon.
1895 visited by PeopleE. A. Martel.
1972 major development works, electric light.
1983 celebration of 150 years discovery of the cave.


A limestone quarry near Mitchelstown.
Mathias J. Duckeck)

The karst around Mitchelstown is restricted to a very small area. The Galtee Mountains consist of sandstone, which contains no caves as it is not soluble by water. But in the southern side of the mountains is the outcrop of a small strip of limestone. This is the location of the caves and it is a material which is quarried for bricks and lime. Mitchelstown Cave is the only cave in this area open to the public.

Mitchelstown Cave was discovered in 1833 by the local farmer Michael Condon. He lost his crowbar in a crack while breaking stones for his house. Trying to find his tool and digging along the crack he opened a cave. This entrance is used until today. When discovered, the area of Mitchelstown Cave was owned by the English Earls of Kingston. But the 40,000 ha estate went bankrupt later. The Mulcahy family bought the land on which the cave is situated.

This cave was first called the New Cave, as another cave nearby was known for many years, which then was called the Old Cave. This old cave is today called Desmond Cave, after the Earl of Desmond who took refuge in this cave. Desmond Cave is not open to the public, as a visit is highly dangerous because of a 30 m deep entrance pit.

The Entrance of Mitchelstown Cave. detail
Mathias J. Duckeck)

The largest chamber of Mitchelstown Cave is called Tir Na Nog and measures 61 m × 49 m and is 18 m high. The hugest column, called Tower of Babel, stands about 9 m high.

In Mitchelstown Cave photography is not allowed! This is nothing special, but the explanation is rather funny:
As the use of cameras seriously damages calcite formations we regret that photography is strictly prohibited. That is the reason, why there are no pictures of the cave on this page! I didn't want to be responsible for the destruction of the calcite formations....

The new owner told us some years ago, he removed the above sign, so this image is a historic document now. Smile But get it right: it is still forbidden to take pictures, there are just no funny signs any more. We believe, before the owner read our page he believed in his strange explanation. When he read our comment, he asked someone he trusted, who affirmed our explanation. But the story the guides tell is still the same.