Kilkenny sinkhole cordoned off to protect public

10m by 15m hole located in field close to former lead and zinc mine

The sinkhole that opened up in a field in Galmoy, Kilkenny, on Saturday. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan

Officials have moved to reassure the public that a sinkhole which appeared close to a former zinc and lead mine shaft at the weekend does not present a danger.

The hole, which is 10 metres deep and 16 metres in circumference, was discovered in a field owned by farmer Eddie Cavanagh on Saturday morning in Co Kilkenny.

It is directly above a mine shaft which was part of the Galmoy Mine operation that closed recently near Crosspatrick, close to the Kilkenny/Laois border.

Mr Cavanagh saw the hole when he looked out his kitchen window on Saturday and realised its extent when he went outside to examine it.


His wife, Mary Hilda Cavanagh, said, "What frightened us was that two days before, on the Thursday evening, Eddie and [their son] Brian had been spreading soiled water there. They drove over it."

The field is normally used for grazing and for cutting silage but is left unused between October and March.

"I wouldn't be in a hurry into the field again," said Ms Cavanagh, a Fine Gael councillor. Her husband notified the mining company and the 22-acre field was immediately secured by Lundin Mining – owners of Galmoy – who also informed Kilkenny County Council, the Department of Energy and Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The council also blocked the road, about 200m away, as a precaution.

"It's quite sheer and quite dramatic," said Kilkenny city and county manager Joe Crockett, who visited the site on Saturday. "It's well set back from the road and is behind the main mining complex at Galmoy. The field was cordoned-off and security personnel were put on the site by the company, just to protect public safety."