Not all tunnels are created equal, especially in Ireland, where robbers, explorers and the elite of society used them to avoid being seen.
Many underground passages were mere legends before they were discovered in the last century. Others were completely unknown and revealed secrets that still baffle archaeologists and explorers alike.
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In 1985, a gang of bank robbers decided to dig a tunnel to Dublin’s Allied Irish Bank on Dame Street. When they gasped, however, they were instead in a ladies’ room.
The attackers began their underground escapade in front of Dublin Castle, which was right next to the city’s main communications center. They started on the Thursday before Easter and finished the tunnel on Easter Monday.
The gang built a 23 meter long tunnel to the sea wall. When they accidentally went to the toilet, they set off an alarm warning the police of their whereabouts over this long Easter weekend break.
After all this trouble, the villains had to flee without prey. But even if they had succeeded, it wouldn’t have been so lucrative. Reportedly, the vault only had about $ 147,000 available. Even so, a bank spokesman did not believe the potential thieves could have pierced the strong room where the money was kept.
9 Stair tunnel discovered in Cork after 230 years
Although Spike Island in Cork Harbor was once used as a prison and defense building, it is now a popular tourist attraction. Originally a monastery settlement from the 7th century, the island may have been used as a smuggler’s port in the 17th century.
The first artillery fortress was built there in 1779 as a result of the American Revolutionary War. The island was also a port for Great Britain to supply goods to its armed forces in North America and the West Indies. In 1790 the first permanent fortress was built by the Irish Public Order on Spike Island.
A tunnel was found in August 2020 after removing a wall that had blocked the underground passage for decades. The tunnel that runs under the walls of the fortress is known as “Sally Port”.
A sally port is a small exit or entrance. It is usually protected with a wall or door that must be bypassed to gain entry and that protects from enemy fire from a great distance. After the door to the tunnel was opened, the staff found a spiral staircase that appeared to float like something out of the tunnel Harry Potter Stories.
The rediscovered tunnel on Spike Island leads from the inner fort to the moat. A second fortress was built on the island in the early 19th century. So it is likely that the tunnel was blocked because the newer construction made it redundant.
8th Frescati Stream
A tunnel ran under the grounds of the Frescati House, where the family of the Provost of Trinity College lived in 1739. The passage was built by a later owner – Emily FitzGerald, Duchess of Leinster – to bring seawater to the property. However, the tunnel is now closed. Indeed, the exact location of the structure remains a mystery.
In the 20th century, the Frescati House was demolished and the property was converted into a shopping center. However, the Frescati Stream (also known as Priory Stream) remains under the mall’s parking lot. From there, the stream visibly leads past an apartment complex, ducks under the main road and finally emerges in Blackrock Park.
In earlier times, the course of the river may have been used by local residents to escape raids by the Crown Militia from Dublin Castle.
7th The Goggins Hill Tunnel
County of cork
Since its closure in 1961, the Goggins Hill Tunnel (also known as “Gogginshill”) is the longest abandoned tunnel in Ireland at 828 meters. Once used as a railway passage, it was excavated by 300 men under the village of Ballinhassig in 1850–51.
The area is now overgrown and creepy and looks like a tunnel to the underworld. It has three ventilation shafts. Some sections are carved out of the original rock while others are lined with bricks to prevent collapse.
For all potential explorers reading this, be warned that the tunnel is on private land and permission to explore should be obtained from the current owner. Intruders are not welcome. However, visitors can enter with permission.
6 The Ballymore Tunnel, County Kildare and Casino Marino, Dublin
In 1852 the Ards estate was occupied by Lady Isabella Tasca Stewart-Bam, a wealthy and pious woman. She commissioned the construction of the Ballymore Tunnel so she could go to church without being seen by the nearby farmers.
With this in mind, a tunnel was built at the Casino Marino in Dublin so that servants could move back and forth between the main house and the garden without obstructing the view. In the 18th century, the casino was a pleasure home for James Caulfeild, 1st Earl of Charlemont. The house had eight tunnels leading from it.
It is possible that the Earl of Charlemont wanted the tunnels to extend to the sea. However, since he runs out of money and died previously, its purpose will remain a mystery.
In 2016, secret tunnels discovered under the grounds of Casino Marino were opened to the public. These passageways were used by Irish soldier and revolutionary politician Michael Collins and others to fire submachine guns during the Irish War of Independence in the early 20th century.
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5 1000 year old basement discovered in County Cork
In 2015, workers discovered an underground passageway in the Caha Mountains of County Cork that had been dug through solid rock about 1,000 years ago. This passage is called “basement”, which comes from the French word underground means “underground passage”.
Archaeologists believe the idea of a basement was brought to Ireland from Gaul in the late Iron Age. Basements are connected to settlements and are usually located near ring forts.
The workers discovered the tunnel while digging to widen a tourist road in Bonane. The Caha Mountains in Cork aroused little archaeological interest until then, although they were known to show traces of Neolithic settlements.
4th Sinkhole in Dublin unveiled brothel tunnel for politicians
In 2015, a sinkhole was opened on one of Dublin’s main streets. Dame Street leads to Trinity College Dublin and Christ Church Cathedral. The 1.8 meter deep hole fell into an old cellar under the street.
According to historian Gerry Cooley, Irish politicians are said to have snuck through a tunnel in the 19th century to gain access to brothels. This basement can be a piece of this tunnel. It was likely used until the building for the Irish House of Parliament became the Bank of Ireland in College Green under the Act of Union in 1800.
3 Underground prison cells
A secondary school in Trim, County Meath was under renovation when prison cells were excavated in underground tunnels. The cells were found intact after a wall was pulled down under the school.
The school was built near the old Trim Gaol (prison), which was demolished in the 1950s. Originally the trade school was set up to prevent poor children from going to the workhouses by training them in a trade instead.
Some strange deaths have been linked to the website. In 1912 a teacher was murdered in the schoolyard by boys with sticks and paintbrushes. Forty years later, two men died in a fall when the prison was destroyed. The men were placing explosives on the third floor to demolish the building when a wall fell on them and they fell into the basement.
2 River Poddle
The River Poddle flows under Dublin Castle through the city center towards Wellington Quay, where it joins the River Liffey. There are passages to the poddle that are accessible by opening the manhole covers and immersing in the water.
This is exactly what two men set out to do in 2012. They were caught on video surveillance in waterproof clothing and gloves in front of Dublin Castle. The Subaqua Garda unit (Irish police) was looking for the two men. But they could not be found, although their voices could be heard when the manhole cover was lifted.
Gardai thought the men might be urban explorers exploring the tunnels, but others wondered if they could look for treasure. The waterways run near the Assay Office, which contains gold and silver, and the Poddle Tunnel also runs under the Central Bank on Dame Street. As of this writing, no one has identified the two men who were caught on camera in 2012.
1 The streets under Limerick
At the beginning of the 20th century, Limerick’s overground roads were renamed after the establishment of the Irish Free State. However, under each renamed street there is a sewer with its original English name. For example, if you walk down O’Connell Street, you will find yourself directly above George’s Street (named after King George III).
Allegedly it was once possible to go completely underground from one side of Limerick to the other. However, many of the underground tunnels were concreted and only a few can be found today.
Many holes in the tunnel roof show where coal was delivered in bunkers under the surface roads. At that time, the tunnels were connected to sewers and drained rainwater. It must have been pretty uncomfortable to walk in.
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About the author: Alexa still lives in Ireland and will do so until the money runs out.