When you think about it, a cave is the ideal place to stage a concert: The acoustics are exceptional, the setting atmospheric, and the unusual access makes it harder for ticket holders to slip away halfway through a performance! To our knowledge, however, Mitchelstown Caves on the Tipperary/Cork border are the first such subterranean location to be used as a concert venue in Ireland.
But then, as the first Irish caves to be developed as an attraction, Mitchelstown Caves are no strangers to innovation.The first Cave Concerts were staged in July 2011, with tickets for the gig, featuring Lisa Hannigan, James Vincent McMorrow and Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, selling out in 11 minutes. Organised by Carraig Productions and Cork Opera House, the Cave has now become a summer fixture, with the programme for 2013 featuring Roisìn O and Liam O Maonlaì on July 19, Soak and Declan O’Rourke on July 20, and the Henry Girls and the West Cork Ukulele Orchestra on July 21.
Concert-goers work for their entertainment, however: Having completed a kilometre-long walk, they descend 88 steep steps into the cave, which maintains a constant temperature of 12C. By all accounts, the experience is more than worth it. The 100 or so ticket holders sit on a plateau two levels below the performer, with every note resonating in the atmospheric, natural underground amphitheatre. Do remember to bring an extra layer of clothing, however.
Even if you don’t make one of the select gigs, you can always take a tour of the Mitchelstown Caves, with one of their informative guides. You will be brought through three huge caverns lined with bizarre dripstone formations, stalactites, stalagmites, and one of Europe’s finest columns – the “Tower of Babel.”
Back in daylight, you can warm up in the comfortable surroundings of a holiday home in Tipperary booked through PlacesToStay.com.