July 13, 2020
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Kilkenny’s gory past on travel bible’s ‘alternative Irish bucket-list’

The world’s most respected travel guide is pointing people in the direction of one of Kilkenny’s most spectacular tourist attractions if they are in Ireland for an alternative experience.

The Lonely Planet this week published its ‘Alternative Irish bucket-list’ which it claimed would “challenge even the most well-travelled locals.”

Kilkenny’s famed Dunmore Caves made the list not so much for the stalactites and stalagmites but more for its morbid and chilling Viking tales.

The guide implores people to “Explore Ireland’s dark Viking past” at the caves, which the Lonely Planet guide describes as: “Formed millions of years ago.”

It’s not long until the geological formation of the underground abyss is forgotten, and the gory details come to the fore.

“The first account of Dunmore Cave in Ballyfoyle, Co Kilkenny, can be found in a 9th century manuscript where it is referenced as the darkest place in Ireland. But there is a more morbid reason for its fascination for visitors to the cave, which can be experienced by private tour only.

“According to the Annals of the Masters, dated to the 17th century, it was the site of a Viking massacre in 928 AD, where 1000 people – mainly women and children – were said to have been killed when they sought refuge in the cave and perished when the Vikings lit a fire to smoke them out. Archaeological finds have indeed shown Viking activity here.”

Good to know! So next time you visit the caves and let out a shout to see will it echo, you may be just be calling out the souls of your ancestors who perished there.

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