In 1834 The Royal Geological Society invited Dr James Apjohn, Professor of Geology at Trinity College, Dublin and engineer Thomas Kearney to carry out the first survey of the Mitchelstown Cave. The map they produced proved to be very accurate and has formed the basis of all future surveys.
The cave has subsequently attracted a large number of eminent explorers and scientists including Alexander Henry Haliday the famous botanist who explored the cave in 1857. Haliday gained fame in 1837 when he received insects collected by Charles Darwin on HMS Beagle which explored the coasts of South America. The Darwin Insects are now in The National Museum of Ireland.
The most famous cave explorer of his day and who is still regarded by many as the ‘father of Speleology’ (study of caves) the Frenchman E.A. Martel explored the cave in 1895.
The most detailed survey was carried out in 1908 by members of the Yorkshire Ramblers Caving Club and Ireland’s most famous naturalist and first president of the Irish mountaineering club Robert Llyod Praeger. From the 1930’s through to the 1970’s exploration of the cave was carried out by the County Cork born cave explorer J.C. Coleman, The Cork Speleological Group and University College Cork.