For those of you who may not have met Jim, he is a striking character, standing over six feet tall with a beaming smile; he is the embodiment of the big friendly giant. He is just finished a tour when I catch up with him and is always up for a chat.
I begin by asking him when he started working at the cave:
“I started working here in August 2006. The cave opened in June of that year, since then we have had over 250,000 visitors and I’ve brought down a considerable amount of them.”
As I’m speaking to him, his face lights up and I can tell that he really enjoys what he does.
“It’s wonderful, you get to spend 45 minutes with people from all over the world and you get to have wonderful interactions with all these people, especially when children arrive.”
I decide to ask Jim what his most memorable experience down the cave has been.
“Well, on our tour, we start people off in darkness and then switch on the lights, and I can remember a lady telling me once that she had a spiritual experience when I turned on the light. She said she could feel energy coming from the stalactite and when I switched on the light she began to sway a little, and when I brought her to the bottom of the cave she started to sway again. I thought perhaps she had stayed too long in McDermott’s Pub, but no, she was into crystals. Now I myself prefer the more scientific explanation for the Great Stalactite, but because there is more to heaven and earth than you and I who am I to discount her testimony.”
Jim is in his usual jovial form and I begin to wish I had the time to take the tour with him; I finish our chat by asking him what his favourite thing about the job is.
“Getting kids involved in the tour is great, I give them the torch and let them shine it in the cave. To be honest when I give them the torch I end up seeing parts of the cave that I’ve never seen before. So if we can inspire children to have an interest in science and geology, then we have done our job.”
After I finish chatting to Jim, on the way out, I catch sight of him stopping to talk to a young man who had just finished the tour, asking him if he enjoyed it even though he is rushing himself. It’s obvious from Jim’s enthusiasm and dedication that the Doolin Cave tour is in great hands.
Doolin Cave is open to the Public 10 years this summer. For bookings or enquiries visit www.doolincave.ie or contact us on (065) 7075761.