This is a photo of Park Cave, White Park Bay, Co. Antrim taken by photographer Andy McInroy. The photo was taken as part of a project that is re-visiting some of the many caves along the Antrim coast photographed a century ago by Victorian pioneers.
The photographs are not only beautiful, they are also a reminder of the key role they have played in the history of archaeology and the important cultural resource that they still are.
The exploration of caves all over the world has brought about huge advances in our understanding of the prehistory of the human race; their occasional preservation of long stratigraphical sequences and their use in multiple periods have made them important resources for archaeologists from France to the Philipines. This is less true in Ireland although archaeologists such as Marion Dowd have recently begun to tease out the complex and incredibly interesting stories of our excavated cave sites.
There is huge potential in Ireland, a country largely made up of soluble limestone, for further work in caves and hopefully the next few years will continue to see increasing interest in these spectacular, mysterious, sometimes dangerous, and often inaccessible parts of our landscape.