Usually on our little explores of abandoned or disused premises we stay above ground. However, for this one we went deep into the bowels of the earth. Well, not quite the bowels, but it was a long way down! This time we headed up to the beautiful North West to the area around Ben Bulben to explore a long disused mine.
Thanks to our guides Shane and Dean who run the brilliant website Abandoned Mines of Ireland we made it safely to the top of some misty mountain where we explored the above ground mine workings.
The rock crusher was reminiscent of some former Soviet Eastern Bloc apartment building or WWII gun emplacement.
Then it was time to head underground. Now where we were heading had made the news headlines the day before when some poor unfortunate (silly) 53 year old woman, who was part of a walking group decided to go exploring the mine herself. She duly fell down an open shaft and nearly killed herself. Full (overly dramatic) details here courtesy of Sligo Today.
This is the said shaft that she fell into.
She was very lucky that the water level was so high and that she missed bouncing off the ledges on the way down. That water is about 75ft deep and is about 12ft down from the ledge. A couple of weeks before she would have fallen about 40 or 50 feet down as the water was much lower.
Anyway, we were well prepared and briefed by our guides so we got to see most of the mine workings including some of the tunnels with the old rail tracks and the air lines which kept the place running.
The old pipework is still intact in places which gave us the opportunity to play with our torches.
Of course there’s nothing like some natural light to add drama to a scene.
And to cap off that feeling of climbing down (or is it up) the “lonely ladder” shot.
So that was a brief summary of our exploration of an abandoned mine. This kind of venture is not for the faint hearted and you really need some experienced people to guide you. We were kitted out with climbing gear, torches and helmets and I was certainly glad of my helmet because I whacked my head a few times. Not sure about bringing good cameras down though because mine needed a power wash afterwards – thank crunchie it’s weather sealed!