Dunmore Cave is located about 11 Km North of Kilkenny City, Ireland, close to the road linking the city to the town of Castlecomer. The cave contains many passages and, at its deepest, is 46m below the surface. It has several calcite formations the most spectacular of which is known as the Market Cross, measuring over 5m high and 1.3m across. The cave is open to the public and was designated as a national monument in 1944.
Reference to the cave, which is a 300 million years old limestone formation, can be found in documents dating back centuries. The Annals, for instance, tell of a Viking massacre which occurred at the cave in 928 AD. Later investigations showed that remains which were discovered, were the bodies of nineteen female adults and twenty five children. Excavations at various times have uncovered bodies, coins, weapons and various artefacts dating back to Viking times. The cave is referred to in many publications including the Dublin Penny Journal. Kilkenny native Bishop George Berkeley wrote an account of a visit he made to the cave in 1706 when he was twenty one years old.
On November 19th 1999 at the end of the tourist season, a tourist guide who was tidying up, discovered a hoard of silver and bronze items which dated back to 970 AD. Among the items found were some coins from the North East of England and others from Baghdad. Officials described the find as “very exciting and of major significance”. The discovery was not announced until January 2000. By then the hoard of coins and jewellery which was over 1,000 years old had been transferred to the National Museum in Dublin. After the discovery the cave was closed to the public so that further archaeological works could be carried out. Following the archaeological works, extensive redevelopment at the cave was undertaken before it was reopened to the public in 2003.
The announcement of the discovery of the hoard of 1,000 year old coins and jewellery in Dunmore Cave, Kilkenny was made in the year 2000 On This Day.
Dunmore Cave by Olivier Bruchez