The hike up to see the Caves of Keash is one of my favourite walks in Sligo.
Also known as the ‘Keash Caves’ or the ‘Caves of Keshcorran’, these are a series of 17 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 here form an ancient passage tomb cluster believed to predate the Pyramids of Egypt by 500-800 YEARS!
In the guide below, you’ll discover the story behind them, where to park for the walk and some safety warnings.
Table of Contents
Some quick need-to-knows about the Caves of Keash in Sligo
Unlike some of the more popular places to visit in Sligo, the Caves of Keash can be tricky to reach, despite the trail that was constructed some years ago.
For this reason, there are a few need-to-knows. Please pay particular notice of the warning about the hike.
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.
2. Older than the Pyramids
During the early 20th century, several archaeological investigations took place. Bones from animals that were known to wander Ireland towards the end of the Ice Age along with human teeth from the Early Iron Age were found. More below.
There are a few different sports for parking near the Keash Caves. There are two spaces right next to the start point (not the gate – the space next to it). Here it is on Google Map. If this is full, you can park in the village itself, right across from the Church. Here’s the location on Google Maps.
4. Safety warning
Although the hike up to the caves is reasonably short, at around 20 – 25 minutes, it’s dangerous in places. In particular, be careful when you reach the brow of the hill. It’s a steep incline from here and, when the ground is wet, it’s like butter to walk on. Good walking shoes are essential.
5. Visitor centre (and food)
You’ll find a visitor centre next to the Fox’s Den pub in Keash Village (a fine spot for food). It’s open all year and guided tours are offered twice daily from April- September. If you’re visiting Ireland in October or during the winter months, there’s one tour per day.
The story behind the Caves of Keash
The Keash Caves are one of the most unique places to visit in Ireland for good reason. History, a certain eeriness and the immense views combine to deliver an experience and a half.
There are 17 chambers at Keash, some of which interconnect, although it’s believed that there could be many more yet to be discovered.
The discovery of animal bones
During the early 20th century, a number of archaeological investigations took place at the Keash Caves. 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.
And then human remains
There was clear evidence of human activity discovered, also. Archaeologists uncovered human remains and artifacts 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.
The Caves of Keash walk
A visit up to the Keash 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.
The Caves of Keash walk will take you between 40 minutes and 1 hour, depending on pace and how long you spend soaking up the views.
Where to park
There are two spaces right next to the start point for the walk (not the gate – the space next to it). Here it is on Google Map. If this is full, you can park in Keash Village itself, right across from the Church. Here’s the location on Google Maps.
Starting the walk
In the photo above, you’ll see the entry point for the Caves of Keash. The route from here is nice and straightforward (here it is on Google Maps).
The photo above is taken a few feet away from the first parking are mentioned earlier (the one with two spaces).
Getting into the walk
From here, 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.
The Caves of Keash walk gets dangerous as you reach the brow of the hill – it’s steep here and, at times, VERY slippy, so use care and make sure to have good shoes on.
When you get to the top you’re laughing. You’ll get some incredible views from the first couple of caves. I’d recommend against exploring the other ones, as they can be tricky to access in places.
Getting back down
When you’re finished, simply retrace your steps back to where you left the car. Please ensure that you’re respectful of the Keash Caves and the land that you pass through.
Leave nothing behind you but footprints. Also, keep in mind that dogs are not allowed to use this trail, as it crosses open farmland.
Things to do near the Keshcorran Caves
One of the beauties of the Caves of Keash walk is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best places to visit in Sligo.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from the Keash Caves, from hikes and walks to historical sites and more.
1. Knocknashee (25-minute drive)
2. Knocknarea (30-minute drive)
The Knocknarea Walk is one of my favourite walks in Sligo. Again, it’s a bit of a challenge, but it’s doable for those with a moderate level of fitness. The views out over Strandhill are incredible. Read our guide.
3. The Glen (30-minute drive)
FAQs about the Keash Caves in Sligo
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from where do you park for the Keshcorran Caves walk to how long it takes.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
How long does it take to climb to the Caves of Keash?
The entire walk up and down shouldn’t take any longer than 1 hour. The climb to the top takes some under 30 minutes, but care is needed (see safety warning above).
Is the Keash Caves walk hard?
Yes, in places. In particular, when you reach the brow of the hill it can get very dangerous, so a lot of care is needed.
Where do you park at the Caves of Keash?
Above, you’ll find Google Map links to the parking next to the trailhead (only two spaces) and the parking in the town (by the Church).