Noon's Hole ( Irish grid ref H12684431) lies about 5 km northwest of the centre of Boho, in the
townland A townland ( ga, baile fearainn; Ulster-Scots: ''toonlann'') is a small geographical division of land, historically and currently used in Ireland and in the Western Isles in Scotland, typically covering . The townland system is of Gaelic origi ...
of Old Barr in the parish of Devenish,
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, close to the border with Boho parish. The cave is under part of the escarpment on the east side of the Glenade Sandstone uplands. At , this pothole was thought to have the deepest shaft in Ireland, but this honour was passed to the nearby Reyfad Pot, which contains an entrance shaft of . The continuation of the cave system (incorporating the Afternoon Series and High Noon's) contains of passage, and it connects to the resurgence at Arch Cave through three cave dives, making this system the 8th deepest in Ireland, at . Noon's Hole was previously called "Sumera", meaning "abyss", but gained notoriety and a new name in the 1820s, following the notorious murder of Dominick Noone, whose body was thrown into the cave.
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maps still use both names.


A ''Sumera'' is a bottomless pit, and locals initially treated Noon's Hole as a supernatural area, viewing it with suspicion and fear. However, in August 1895, the French cave explorer Édouard-Alfred Martel explored the cave for the first time, descending to . It was not until 1912 that a group called the Yorkshire Ramblers reached the bottom. Not discouraged by their equipment not having arrived from England, they made the descent of the complex shaft using a long rope ladder built from materials purchased from Fermanagh ships chandlers and timber merchants, hauling it up and down from the surface when the explorers found ledges to stand on. All they found at the bottom was a short passage leading to a sump. In January 1970 a group from the
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Speleological Association investigated the parallel shafts, and found that one led into of passages they named the After-Noon Series. In the meanwhile, cave divers had been pushing in Arch Cave from which the water from Noon's Hole resurges. In 1972 Martyn Farr and Roger Solari passed an sump into a long canal, and then a sump into a major extension which extended into the mountain for a further to a third sump. The pair returned in 1973, and after a dive they emerged into the After-Noon series of Noon's Hole. Easter 1975 a party followed a draught in the After-Noon series through a rocky crawl, to break out into a mile of new passage which included a streamway, the terminal sump of which corresponded to a sump with the main water flow in Arch II cave. This was named the High Noon Series. In 1984, a group managed to find a dry connection between High Noon and Arch II cave to create the 'finest sporting trip in County Fermanagh'.

Dominick Noone

Dominick Noone was originally from the Ballinamore area in the east of
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. Whilst in Derrygonnelly, he became a member of an illegal
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organisation known as the Ribbonmen, an agrarian reform group, but subsequently became an informer for the
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. It was on his evidence in 1826 that a number of fellow members were ' transported' to
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. Despite police protection, he was invited to a wedding party, but then kidnapped and murdered and his body thrown down into the depths of the Sumera. The authorities suspected that his body lay in the shaft, and a man named Cavanagh from Castlecoole, a
townland A townland ( ga, baile fearainn; Ulster-Scots: ''toonlann'') is a small geographical division of land, historically and currently used in Ireland and in the Western Isles in Scotland, typically covering . The townland system is of Gaelic origi ...
on the outskirts of
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, accepted a substantial reward to descend the shaft in a rope and creel. Noone's body was found at a depth of , and retrieved. The body was then carried to a chapel for a wake but local people blocked the doorway preventing entrance. The murderers of Noone were never caught despite the offer of a £100 award. In 1879 a long ballad was composed about the event. The penultimate verse goes:
''Within the mountain nature made,''
''A deep and dismal cave,''
''That suited well the murderers said,''
''To be a traitor's grave,''
''They flung the lifeless body below -''
''A groan they thought it gave.''

See also

* Caves of the Tullybrack and Belmore hills * List of caves in the United Kingdom


Further reading

* * {{County Fermanagh Limestone caves Caves of Northern Ireland Landforms of County Fermanagh