Doolin Cave are very committed to conservation of the cave to ensure that there are no negative impacts resulting from providing access to the public.
It is central to our strategy that the operation of Doolin Cave adheres to the concept of sustainable development. This has been defined as being, “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Sustainable tourism aims to meet the needs and aspirations of the host area and its people, holiday-makers and operators alike, in a way which respects them all and those who will follow on.
Construction of Doolin Cave
During the development of Doolin cave, we had to make sure that we did not interfere with the growth or stability of the Great Stalactite.
There were no explosives used during the construction of Doolin cave. The cave passages were enlarged by hand using a technique known as ‘Plug and Feather’ in order not to damage the Great Stalactite.
Protecting Doolin Cave
The operation of Doolin Cave is geared to protect the cave system for future generations by monitoring and managing any changes that may occur in the cave environment. Two of the main negative impacts experienced by show caves universally are a rise in temperature and a decrease in humidity. Changes in temperature and humidity have to be kept at a minimum so there is no damage to the cave system or the Great Stalactite. Professor Gunn of Limestone Research and Consultancy carries out a detailed monitoring programme on the temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide and radon using data loggers.
The number of visitors to the cave is limited due to environmental reasons. There is an upper limit of 55,000 annually.
Visitors numbers are restricted to 20- 25 per tour.
Lighting in Doolin Cave
Another negative impact on the climate of show caves is the introduction of lighting. We are very aware of the sensitivity of the cave system and the dangers to the Great Stalactite. We use cold lighting in the main chamber of Doolin Cave; cold lighting is used to prevent lampenflora in the cave. Lampenflora is the result of spores being brought into the cave on peoples’ shoes and clothes. The spores then react to UV light and high temperatures, this leads to moss growing in the cave. We use cold LED lights so the temperature in the cave dose not rise and the light isn’t too bright. As part of the cave conservation and our eco-tourism policy the lights are always kept off in the chambers when there is not a tour.
Preserving the Water Quality
At the cave we try to preserve the quality of the ground water. The Great Stalactite depends on clean water to grow and we must make sure that no contaminants enter the ground water. In the car park we have installed grease traps as a precautionary measure so oil from cars cannot seep into the ground.