A Photo-Journal Of The Irish Underground

Pollnagollum (Of The Boats)



Pollnagollum is a classic Fermanagh Marlbank cave. Situated on the Owenbrean it is a river cave of about one kilometer in length. It connects the massive sink of Pollasumera, high on Cuilcagh mountain, to Skreen Hill III in Marble Arch. While it’s easy caving with little squeezing or climbing, the cold water and series of deep lakes make it somewhat refreshing!

I have been to this cave many times and always enjoy a return visit. The fact that there are numerous stretches of wet passage that needs to be swum, means it is an extra challenge to photograph. Not just because it requires all camera gear to be waterproofed but also due to the extra moisture in the air which reflects light and can causes a haze.

First Lake in Pollnagollum
Every time I swim the First Lake, with my camera gear locked away inside its ‘Pelicase’ I always get the uncomfortable feeling that maybe I didn’t tighten the latches on the waterproof box. (Swimming in the dark and wondering if my camera is drowning!). Or that maybe I haven’t attached the bags to my belt properly and that when I get across I will realise all my gear has been washed downstream!


It hasn’t yet happened, but I have still a return trip to do here to photograph the most iconic section of the cave, the Main Chamber, with it’s big stalactites and large open spaces.


Crossing with first lake at pollnagollum on a dingy

The photo above, a joint effort between myself and Axel Hack, was taken during a recent trip to Pollnagollum in which we wanted to do justice to the parenthesised element of it’s name “(Of The Boats)”. Unfortunately, the inflatable dingy was just not made for the cave environment and burst almost instantly on contact with the sandstone boulders on the bed of the first lake! Here, Axel can be seen bailing for his dear life!

Pretty upper chamber with flowstone, gour pools and ‘glowing’ bacon curtains


The aven over the first lake


A closer look at the vast aven


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Upper Chamber of Pollnagollum

The pretty upper chamber of Pollnagollum



County Fermanagh Caves By County

9 responses

  1. Pingback: Beginnings… | Caves Of Ireland

  2. Pingback: Pollnagollum (Of The Boats) | Caves Of Ireland

  3. Pretty awesome, some nice photographs there. Looks like an awesome place to explore. I should really get into the whole caving gig.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 12, 2015 at 8:40 am

    • Thanks Shane! Yeah you should give it a try. There’s a Dublin Caving Group that is open for all and they cave at the weekends in Fermanagh and Clare. They are very approachable and keen for recruits!


      March 12, 2015 at 3:00 pm

  4. Me parece un lugar maravilloso. Digno de estudio. Cada una de esas extructuras impresionantes y su historia geológica. Deseando ir a conocerlas.
    Me gusta mucho las fotografías y el formato de la página web.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 27, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    • Pues cuando quieras ven a verla 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      May 27, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    • Muchas gracias Remei, me alegra saber que te gusta 🙂 y como dice la Sara pues cuando quieras ven a verla 😉


      May 28, 2015 at 9:21 pm

  5. Does not look like the Poulnagollum-Poulelva through trip that I did in 1968. How so?


    June 7, 2017 at 8:48 am

    • This Pollnagollum is in County Fermanagh! ‘Poll na gColm’ is Irish for ‘Pigeon Hole’ and, as such, would be the most common descriptive name given to caves throughout the country. Most counties that have caves have a Pollnagollum, though I have never seen a Pigeon anywhere near a cave entrance!


      June 8, 2017 at 8:41 pm

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