Hill-walkers recently came across skeletal remains in a previously undiscovered section of caves near Newport, Co. Mayo.
Michael Chambers, a member of the local Nephin Beggars Hillwalking Group, made the cave discovery last week while out hiking alone in the Nephin Range, coming across the entrance while tracking the movements of a fox through the hills. Spotting an aperture in rocks on the cliff face, Chambers, a resident of the local town of Shramore, went to investigate, revealing the entrance to the new cave system and investigating his discovery further by crawling into the caves assisted by the light from his cellphone.
Returning to the site the next day with four of five friends, they discovered the skeletal remains in a second cave chamber.
Gardaí were called to the scene and the remains were brought to the local Mayo town of Westport before being transferred to Dublin for expert examination.
Anthropologists will now carry out a detailed examination to determine whether the bones are that of a human or of an animal.
"The bones have been removed from the cave. They will be tested by anthropologist to determine their age and whether they are of human or animal origin," Westport-based Garda Superintendent Sean Colleran told RTÉ News.
Local outdoor enthusiast Chambers explained to Mayo News that even locals did not know of this cave system before his accidental discovery, and that they were hidden in a way which would make them easy to miss. He added that he believes there to be more caves in the Nephin Range as his grandfather used to assist the local IRA in hiding there during the War of Independence.
“Nobody knew anything about these caves before and you would walk right by them because they are that hard to see. Farmers who had sheep in the hills did not know anything about them. My grandfather was a guide during the War of Independence and would bring the rebels to the caves and two years ago I came across two similar caves,” he said.
The new complex of caves is also expected to be investigated by anthropologists in the coming weeks.
H/T: RTÉ News