Seanathair Rift Through Trip

County Leitrim

A caver at the fault entrance of Pollrunda

The Largy region of North Leitrim is one of my favourite places to cave. Despite being primarily investigated by British cavers in the late 1950s and partially revisited in the 1970s it was largely forgotten about until 2012 when the Shannon Group led a week long expedition to revisit the region and to explore and survey its caves.

The Pollrunda pitch

Now, new caves are on the map and there is still potential for further discoveries. One such find occurred in July 2014 when, after a Cave Rescue practice on Largy finished for the day, a number of cavers (myself included) pushed a tight gravel crawl through the otherwise uninteresting ‘Pollfaffin’. To everyone’s delight, this opened up to a small chamber with numerous short down-climbs before reaching a fantastic pitch of approximately 50 meters and tying in to the same cavern as neighbouring pothole, Pollrunda! After placing a few bolts we decided it best to return the next day in better preparation.

The following day a large group returned and split into two, with one entering Pollfaffin and exiting Pollrunda and the other doing the trip in the opposite way. This made for a fantastic through trip with each group meeting in the middle of the large chamber 60 meters below ground. The entire through trip was subsequently called ‘Seanathair’ (‘Grandfather’) Rift.

One fascinating feature (above) in the cave is the unusual looking sink hole consisting of concentric circles of limestone blocks and bedded chert. It has a beautiful shape and symmetry unlike any geological feature I’ve seen above ground or below ground.

I personally think the discovery of this new pitch, making a through trip of the two caves, is a significant find that once properly bolted and prepared, could make for a popular trip for cavers. This in turn could help promote the Largy region as a prime caving region of itself. Only time will tell.

An exceptionally well preserved Brachiopod fossil showing an inner calcite core
The last few to leave the impressive Pollfaffin ‐ Pollrunda through trip

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