Park man turns cave man
For years amateur photographer Andy McInroy was content to snap the coastline and scenery of Northern Ireland, but it was an old cigarette card he stumbled across on the Internet that ignited a brand new passion.
The 32-year-old Park resident is nearing the end of a project - The Great Sea Caverns of Antrim - to photograph some of Northern Ireland's oldest caves, many of which are rarely visited.
"It was really a self motivated project, which kicked off six months ago," he explained.
The cigarette card featured an etching of one of Northern Ireland's oldest caves on the North Coast - Whiterocks in Portrush.
Intrigued, Andy looked for a modern day photo of the cave on the Internet, but found nothing.
"I decided to go and try to find it," he said, explaining he wanted to recreate the scene on the card.
He contacted a local gentleman who helped him find his way, which proved tricky.
"I had to scramble down the cliff," he said, explaining he had to go on a low tide to avoid getting caught between the two headlands.
That sparked Andy's desire to find out what other caves existed. Since then he has visited five caves along the coastline.
"They're cathedral-like inside, and twith he sound of the water booming inside, there is a great atmosphere," he said.
"They're absolutely massive but they are very, very dark. I needed a head torch to find my way around them."
The biggest cave Andy has yet to explore is the Great Cave of Dunkerry on Runkerry headland.
It's thought to be 100-feet-high at the cave mouth, he explained.
"No one knows how deep it goes," he said, adding he will need a boat to reach it.
"I never knew so many of these places existed because I couldn't find any pictures," he said.
Andy's pictures can be viewed on his website, but he is planning to show them at exhibitions in Inishowen and Belfast later this year. He hopes they will help to educate people about the caves, which he says are "every bit as impressive as the Causeway itself."
He would also like to see is some of the caves made accessible to the public.
"It's a crying shame that caves like the one at Dunluce are out of bounds to the public," he said, claiming they would be a huge hit with kids and adults.To see Andy's pictures go to andymcinroy.com
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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