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If you are looking for a unique and adventurous experience in Galway, you should visit the Pigeon Hole Cave, also known as ‘Poll na gColum’ in Irish. This limestone cave is located between Lough Corrib and Lough Mask, just outside the village of Cong in County Mayo. The cave is not only a natural wonder, but also a place of legend and folklore.

The Pigeon Hole Cave is part of the Pigeon Hole Loop, a waymarked trail that takes you around Cong Abbey, across the Cong River, and into Cong Woods. The trail is about 4 km long and takes about an hour and a half to complete. You can start the trail from the car park near Cong Abbey, or from any point along the loop. Just follow the red arrows that guide you through the scenic route.

The cave is located about halfway through the loop, near the shore of Lough Corrib. You will see a signpost that points you to the cave entrance. There is a steep flight of limestone steps that lead down to the mouth of the cave, which is over 12 feet wide and has a subterranean stream running through it. You will need a torch or a flashlight to explore the cave, as it can get quite dark inside.

The Pigeon Hole Cave is named after the pigeons that nest there, but they are not the only inhabitants of the cave. The cave is home to a variety of wildlife, such as bats, frogs, spiders, and insects. You may also spot some fossils and stalactites on the walls and ceiling of the cave.

The main attraction of the cave, however, is the sacred trout that lives in the stream. According to Irish folklore, this trout is actually a fairy that was once a beautiful young woman who was set to marry a king’s son. Unfortunately, the prince was murdered before their wedding, and the young lady went mad with grief and disappeared. She was believed to have been taken away by the fairies, who transformed her into a white trout.

The trout has been living in the cave ever since, waiting for her true love to return. Many people have tried to catch her, but she always evaded capture by avoiding bait or jumping out of the pan. However a soldier came to put the rumors to the test and caught the trout to fry for his dinner. He placed it on the pan, but the fish would not cook. Although the fish would not cook, he decided to eat the fish anyway. As he put his knife to the fish, it screamed, leaped from the pan to the floor, and transformed into a beautiful young woman.

The woman explained that she was waiting for her true love in the river. She demanded he renounce his evil courses and take her back to the river. In the blink of an eye, the woman disappeared and in her place laid a small, white trout.

The soldier quickly put the trout on a plate and rushed to the cave to put her back into the river. When he did, the river turned blood red momentarily. To this day it is said that one can find a white trout, with a little scar where it was cut, swimming in the sunny part of the river.

The Pigeon Hole Cave is a hidden gem in Galway that offers a rare opportunity to explore a natural cave and learn about its history and legend. The cave is also a great place to enjoy some peace and quiet, away from the crowds and noise of the city. You can listen to the sound of the stream, watch the pigeons fly in and out of the cave, and maybe even catch a glimpse of the fairy trout.


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Pigeon Hole Cave



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