If you read our guide to 35 secret and hidden places to visit in Ireland, you’ll have come across the mighty Caves of Keash in Sligo.
Also known as the ‘Keash Caves’ or the ‘Caves of Keshcorran’, these are a series of limestone caves found on the side of Keshcorran Hill near the little village of Keash in Sligo.
Good God that was a lot of Keashs’ for one sentence..!
The caves of Keash form an ancient passage tomb cluster that is believed to predate the Pyramids of Egypt by 500-800YEARS! That’s pretty bananas!
In the guide below, you’ll find out how to reach them, where to park, their history and plenty more.
The story behind the Caves of Keash
You’ll find the magnificent Caves of Keash towering over the little village of Keash in County Sligo, on the west side of Keshcorran Hill.
There are 16 chambers at Keash, some of which interconnect, although it’s believed that there could be many more yet to be discovered.
A visit up to the caves is arguably one of the best things to do in Sligo. They’re a little off the beaten track so you won’t meet hoards of tourists milling about the place when you visit.
Translation: the chances of arriving here and having the whole place (along with the view above) to yourself are pretty damn high.
The discovery of human remains
During the early 20th century, a number of archaeological investigations took place at the Caves of Keash. The archaeologists discovered bones from animals that were known to wander Ireland towards the end of the Ice Age.
Bones from the brown bear, red deer, arctic lemming and wolves were all found in the Caves of Keash. There was also clear evidence of human life in the caves.
There was clear evidence of human activity discovered, also. Archaeologists uncovered human remains and artefacts found within the depths of the caves.
Human teeth that dated back to the Early Iron Age and the Early Medieval period were discovered scattered in parts of the cave.
How to get up to the caves
The climb up to the Caves of Keash is reasonably handy, and it shouldn’t take you any more than an hour to get up and down.
Naturally enough, you’ll want to spend time exploring the caves and admiring the view, so allow for around two hours in total.
Where to park
Head for the car park next to St. Kevin’s Church (pictured below). There’s a decent bit of parking here, so you shouldn’t have any hassle finding a spot.
This is a way-marked route, which makes finding your way to the top nice and handy. The route starts in the Church car park.
You need to follow the marked route from the Church car park along the little road that runs beneath Keshcorran Hill. Keep walking and you’ll come to a stile on the right of the road.
Continue to follow the way-marked route to the right, along the boundary of the field. You’ll then need to cross another stone stile.
Take the route to the left that takes you up the hillside, keeping an eye out for the waymarkers as you go. Keep on going and you’ll reach the top.
You need to follow the same path back down. Please ensure that you’re respectful of the Keash Caves and the land that you pass through. Leave nothing behind you but footprints.
There’s a steep incline at one section of the climb. The ground here can become slippery after rain, so be careful. Ensure that you throw on a pair of walking shoes or something with a decent grip.
Also, keep in mind that dogs are not allowed to use this trail, as it crosses open farmland. Now, there’s always one arsehole that ignores these type of warnings – don’t be that arsehole.
Visitor Centre, Gift Shop and Guided Tours
You’ll find a visitor centre next to the Fox’s Den pub in the village. Here, you’ll get an introduction to the caves and you’ll also have the option to take a guided tour.
The visitor centre is open year-round from 10:00 to 18:00 and guided tours are offered twice daily between April and September. If you’re visiting Ireland in October or during the winter months, there’s one tour per day, weather permitting.
Have you visited the Caves of Keash? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!