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>What is the Speleological Union of Ireland?
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The Speleological Union of Ireland is the official body representing the interests of speleologists and sporting cavers in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland at local, national and international levels.

SUI was originally founded in the 1960's, and was reconstituted in 1983. Today, the majority of Irish cavers are members of the organisation.

SUI is the body which brings together the caving clubs and individual cavers and scientists of Ireland. It provides training, supports conservation and exploration and sponsors overseas expeditions. SUI helps to develop government policy on sport, access and the environment and attempts to represent the interests of cavers. The officers of the committee of SUI are available to advise and assist members in their pursuit of caving. SUI can assist foreign cavers intending to visit Ireland with information regarding accommodation, localities, guide books and information, conservation and access situations and rescue.

Services of SUI:

  • Acts for Cavers in access disputes ·
  • Campaigns to conserve cavesites and prevent cave pollution ·
  • Organises personal insurance for cavers ·
  • Runs training courses for cavers ·
  • Organises an Annual Symposium ( in conjunction with ICRO ) ·
  • Organises international sports exchanges ·
  • Publishes a regular newsletter distributed free to members ·
  • Publishes a quality journal - Irish Speleology, covering active exploration and research into Irish caves and Karst.

SUI is heavily involved in conservation work to protect Irish caves from damage by dumping, quarrying, show cave development and other causes. Cave access problems also arise and it is the policy of the organisation to work for free and unrestricted access to Irish caves except where there are good conservation reasons to restrict access - e.g. caves which are used as bat roosts. An access agreement has been reached with the managers of one of Ireland's show caves - Marble Arch Show Cave in Co. Fermanagh.

The organisation runs training courses, principally leadership courses aimed at teachers, outdoor education employees and youth leaders. Some courses on improving caving expertise are also available from time to time. Contact is maintained with overseas caving organisations and an international sports exchange is operated with our French counterpart. A second exchange with German cavers is also being organised.

Most members of SUI are also available to ICRO (Irish Cave Rescue Organisation) in an emergency and many attend regular rescue training sessions. ICRO is a voluntary organisation run by an elected committee and has equipment stores at four locations in Ireland. The two main stores are at Doolin in Co. Clare and Gortatole in Co. Fermanagh.