On the townland of Coolagarranroe, near the road from Mitchelstown to Cahir, about six miles from the former and seven from the latter place, are the Kingston caverns, which, though in this parish, are sometimes called the Mitchelstown caverns, from parties visiting them usually making that town their head-quarters.
These extraordinary and magnificent caverns were first discovered in 1833, while quarrying the limestone hill, on the farm of a tenant of Lord Kingsborough, named Gorman, to whom his lordship confided the charge of preserving them from injury, and of acting as guide.
The entrance is from the quarry by a slanting passage 50 feet long, terminating at the edge of a precipice, from which is a descent of 20 feet by a ladder to a second sloping passage, 100 feet in length, and greatly obstructed by scattered masses of rugged rock, which leads into an area about 70 or 80 feet in diameter, and 30 feet high. From this are various galleries or passages leading into other chambers of various dimensions, of which at present 15 have been explored; of these, the principal are called the House of Commons, the House of Peers, O'Leary's Cave, O'Callaghan's Cave, Kingsborough Hall, the Altar Cave, the Closets, the Cellar, and the Garret. The stalactites depending from the roof of several of these caverns are exceedingly beautiful, assuming every variety of form and every gradation of colour; in some places uniting with, the stalagmites rising from the floors, and forming beautiful columns of spar, and in others spreading into thin transparent surfaces, resembling elegant drapery tastefully disposed in the most graceful folds. In some of the chambers the stalagmites rise in the form of massive pyramids, ornamented at the base with successive tiers of crystallizations of the most fanciful forms; and in others in columns resembling those of the Giants' Causeway.
In several places are small pools of limpid water between large masses of rock. The extent of the cavern, including the various chambers, is from 700 to 800 feet in length, and about 570 in breadth: and the depression of the lowest chamber beneath the level of the entrance, about 50 feet; the limestone hill in which it is situated has an elevation of 100 feet above the level of the road.
from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837.
The transcription of the section for this parish from the National Gazetteer (1868), provided by Colin Hinson.
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