The Aillwee Cave website advertised a “30-minute stroll through beautiful underworld caverns, over bridged chasms, under weird formations and alongside the thunderous waterfall.” It wasn’t quite as grandiose as that advertisement would lead you to believe but the waterfall was pretty cool. The best part about our visit to the Aillwee Cave was just exploring the area, from the woodland trail to the delicious cheese shop.
In the 1950s, a man followed his dog into a cave opening in the side of a mountain, thereafter discovering the limestone Aillwee Cave. The tour for the public only shows a small portion of the cave. This stems from the fact that the rest of the cave was too small and dangerous. The most fascinating thing I learned from our tour of the cave was the discovery of black bear bones and bedding in the cave. After all, back bears have been extinct from Ireland since 1300.
The Aillwee cave also sells homemade cheese on their property so we went out in search of it. I started heading to our car to drive to the shop. Bryan, however, pointed out a “woodland trail to Cheese Shop” sign. Our unspoken motto of the trip was to be “active active active”, instead of our typical lazy couch-potato selves. Trek along the woodland trail it was.
The trail was gorgeous, tranquil, and just a little bit weird with random art pieces scattered throughout.
After spending some time wandering around the woodland trail, we finally arrived at the farm shop. I’m not going to lie, we sampled all their cheeses before picking up a slice for later, along with elderflower cordial and pâté. While the Aillwee cave itself was cute, the woodland trail and farm shop made this such a special stop.
Click here for the full itinerary of my big 3-0 celebration in Ireland. Click here to learn about our travels from County Mayo to County Claire, via County Galway.