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Pollatoomary is the deepest explored underwater cave in Ireland. It has been explored to an underwater depth of 113 metres (371 ft).[1][2] The explored limit of Pollatoomary is also 23 metres (75 ft) deeper underwater than that of the terminal sump in Wookey Hole Caves in Somerset, England, which previously held the record for the deepest underwater cave in Britain and Ireland.[1][3]


The cave is located in the Partry Mountains in the townland of Bellaburke near Killavally, Westport, County Mayo, where the Aille River reemerges, having gone underground at Aille caves some 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) away. The cave entrance is on privately owned farmland.


J. C. Coleman's 1965 compendium, The Caves of Ireland, states: "Pollatoomary Rising ... thought to be the rising of the Aille water. The water rises through fissures in the limestone."[4]

The cave was first explored in 1978 by cave diver Martyn Farr, who dived it to a depth of 33 metres (108 ft). At the time, this made it the deepest known sump in Ireland, and by 1985 it still held second place.[5]

30 years after Farr's first exploration, one of his students,[3] Artur Kozłowski, began to concentrate his efforts on the cave. In May 2008 Kozłowski explored Pollatoomary to an underwater depth of 86 metres (282 ft),[6] then on 5–6 July 2008, he reached 103 metres (338 ft) underwater.[7][8] This made it the deepest sump in Ireland by far, and additionally it surpassed the British cave diving depth record.[3]

Pollatoomary was entered again on 9 June 2018 by Michal Marek, who explored the cave to 113 metres (371 ft) underwater.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Polak zginął podczas nurkowania w Irlandii". wbi.onet.pl (in Polish). 16 May 2019. Retrieved 2019-05-18.
  2. ^ a b Kluj, Magdalena (October 2019). Barrie, Peter; Kennedy, Alasdair (eds.). "Obituary: Michał Marek". Irish Speleology. Speleological Union of Ireland. 24: 73-74. ISSN 0332-4907.
  3. ^ a b c Siggins, Lorna (7 September 2011). "'There is no rescue - only recovery, if you're lucky'". Irish Times. Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  4. ^ Coleman, J. C. (1965). The Caves of Ireland. Tralee, Co. Kerry: Anvil Press.
  5. ^ Jones, Gareth Ll. (1985). Burns, Gabriel (ed.). "Top Pots and Rave Caves". Irish Speleology. Speleological Union of Ireland. 3 (2): 9.
  6. ^ Siggins, Lorna (August 7, 2008). "Cave explorer plumbs new depths in Mayo". Irish Times. Retrieved 2020-11-12.
  7. ^ Kozłowski, Artur (2009). "Dark Rising: the exploration of an underground river in County Mayo, Ireland". Irish Speleology. Speleological Union of Ireland. 18: 69–70. ISSN 0332-4907.
  8. ^ Gallagher, Emer (16 July 2008). "Explorer plunges to new depths in Mayo". The Mayo News. Archived from the original on 7 December 2013. Retrieved 2011-09-21.

Coordinates: 53°46′36″N 9°22′23″W / 53.776695°N 9.372953°W / 53.776695; -9.372953