The Secret Life of Irish Caves – from swarming bats to ancient bones
Late one Autumn night, Colin Stafford Johnson heads underground to explore what wildlife might be found in Irish caves. Colin meets bat specialist Conor Kelleher in Dunmore Cave, Co. Kilkenny, where they hope to witness the autumnal swarming of Natterer’s bats. This phenomenon of Autumnal swarming in caves was only discovered in Ireland last year, and it is still not known why the bats do it – using up valuable fat reserves just as their winter hibernation approaches.
In addition to this living wildlife spectacle, caves are also important repositories for our extinct fauna. To find out why this is and what has been found in Irish caves, Colin heads to the Natural History Museum to meet Nigel Monaghan, Curator, and to examine some of the ancient remains found in Irish caves.
Locations: Dunmore Cave, Co. Kilkenny; Natural History Museum, Dublin.
Contributors: Conor Kelleher, Nigel Monaghan
Picture Caption: Bat expert Conor Kelleher and Colin explore Dunmore Cave in Co. Kilkenny.