The dank interior of Dunmore Cave has provided not only geological wonders—among them the Market Cross, a 23-foot (7-meter tall calcite formation—but also some fascinating archaeological finds. Viking-era coins and valuables have been uncovered here, as have human remains that many theorize belong to victims fleeing Viking violence.
Dunmore Cave can only be accessed as part of an hour-long guided tour, which is included with admission. General admission also includes access to the cave’s visitor center, where a video presentation covers the geology, ecology, myths, and the history of the cave; its displays include hoards of Viking-era silver unearthed from the site. The cave is often visited as part of day tours from Dublin to Kilkenny, which typically incorporates a visit to nearby Kilkenny City.
Things to know before you go
- It’s damp and cold inside Dunmore Cave—bring a jacket and wear sturdy shoes to tackle the uneven terrain.
- With some 700 steps in the cave, it is not well-suited to very young children or visitors with mobility issues.
- There's a café at the cave’s visitor center.
How to get there
The cave is about a 10-minute drive from Kilkenny city. To get there by car, follow signposts from the N78. There are no direct bus routes to the cave, so if you aren’t driving, it’s better to go as part of a guided tour.
When to get there
Summer weekends are busiest at Dunmore Cave. Go midweek or in the quieter winter months to avoid the crowds.
What Else to See in Kilkenny
Kilkenny City is a highlight of any visit to Ireland, with heritage attractions, crafts, and culture aplenty. Must-sees include St. Canice’s Cathedral, a medieval behemoth that is second only to Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral in size; Kilkenny Castle, a mighty stone bastion set at the edge of the River Noire with a history stretching back to the 12th century; and the Kilkenny Design Centre, which sells high-quality Irish crafts, from handwoven blankets to pottery and jewelry.