A woman in her 20s is recovering after she spent more than an hour trapped in a sea cave when she got into difficulty while swimming at a beach in West Cork this afternoon.

The alarm was raised at around 4.30 at Dunworley Beach, around 8km from Clonakilty. 

It's understood that the woman is from the area and swims at Dunworley regularly.

In difficult conditions, she was over powered by the in-coming tide and swept into a narrow cave around 50m from where she entered the water.

A number of people who were walking on the beach raised the alarm.

The Coast Guard Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre at Valentia tasked a number of agencies to the scene, including the Old Head/Seven Heads Coast Guard Unit, Courtmacsherry Lifeboat and the Coast Guard helicopter from Shannon.

First on scene was local diver, Eamonn Barry, a member of both West Cork Underwater Search and Rescue and the Old Head/Seven Heads Coast Guard Unit. 

He entered the water and located the woman in the cave. Conditions were difficult, with waves crashing into the cave several times a minute.

Above them, other members of the Old Head/Seven Heads Coast Guard Unit were assembling and, using ropes, they were able to hoist the woman out of the cave.

The woman was assessed and treated by paramedics from the National Ambulance Service. She suffered no serious injuries and is now recovering.

A Coast Guard spokesman said: "Only experienced all-year-round swimmers should enter the water at this time of year, and only when they are being observed by a friend on the shore."

This is the second similar successful rescue involving the Old Head/Seven Heads Coast Guard Unit in the past six months.