This was a great place to visit with my two children (aged 12 and 8). We've visited Aillwee Cave many times, but had not made it to Doolin, and a trip was long overdue.
We arrived just in time for a tour and were fortunate to have Jim guide us through the cave; he is a natural storyteller and I'm sure his presence made the tour even more entertaining and informative. The site entrance where the cave was originally discovered is unbelievably tiny and would be inaccessible for the majority of people; a vertical shaft has been sunk into the cave so that visitors can enter in comfort - therefore yes, there are Lots of steps to climb down - and back up!
The tour is very interesting with lots of information about the cave, how the shaft and tunnel were created taking care not to damage the stalactite or other features, and plans for more areas to be opened to the public in the future.
And the Great Stalactite is indeed an amazing sight: it's Huge!
Once we'd finished the tour and climbed back up the steps we walked around the nature trail and visited the spot where the cave was first discovered, before returning to the Centre's cafe for yummy home-made cakes and a refreshing pot of tea. And I couldn't resist buying a piece of pottery created with glacial clay from deep within the Cave. Everyone at the Centre was exceptionally friendly and welcoming.
We'll definitely return for a 2nd visit.
The Cave entrance and visitor centre is located a short distance north of Doolin village, near Ballinalacken Castle.
Recommendation: wear sturdy, waterproof footwear as it's quite damp underfoot, and a fleece/sweater to keep out the chill.
The cave is probably not suitable for those with mobility issues, as currently the entrance involves walking down many steps.
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