Geocaching FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions about geocaching. If you have any questions, send them in and we’ll try to answer them. There is also help at hand over in the forums or on the Facebook Group.

Is Geocaching legal?

Yes! Owning a GPS is quite legal – its not like a radar detector or anything like that. What is not legal is trespassing to place a cache or to access a cache. Most caches are not placed on private property, so you should not have to trespass to geocache. At the same time, the fact that someone else has placed a cache on private grounds does not give you the right to also enter these grounds. If in doubt, don’t enter.

How much does Geocaching cost?

Nothing! You won’t have to pay us, the official geocaching site, the cache owner or anyone else to visit a cache or place a cache yourself.

How much does Geocaching really cost?

OK, so there are expenses involved. Firstly you’ll need a GPS, or a GPS enabled smart phone. You should be able to get a basic hand held model for about €130. You can do a certain amount of caching using your feet, bike or with public transport, but to get to the more out of the way caches you’ll really need a car.

Good waterproof clothing and hiking boots are recomennded when accessing more remote caches. Preparing a cache can also be quite expensive. A Tupperware box can cost €5 and the cost of the contents can also add up. Shop around and you should be able to get some good items cheap. The many “Euro Shops” can provide boxes and goodies for next to nothing, so you may be able to put a good cache together for about €10. You might also want to invest in a good map of the cache area, especially if the cache involves a long walk or climb. The Ordnance Survey’s Discovery Series covers the country at a scale of 1:50000, while maps from EastWest Mapping use a scale of 1:3000. Maps cost around €10 each and are well worth the investment.

I’ve just watched “Enemy of the State” and am really paranoid. Can the government track my every move from my GPS?

Handheld GPS receivers do not transmit a signal, rather it only receives signals, so you’re free to move about unobserved. There are GPS devices that allow tracking, such as those used for observing animal migrations, or those undoubtedly used by spies for exciting James Bond style scenarios, but your commercial GPS can only receive signals.

Smart phones on the other hand can transmit your position to your service provider and some applications may provide location data to the application developer depending on your privacy settings.

How many caches are there in Ireland?

About 6,5o0, though that number is growing fast. Click here for the latest list or use the Interactive Map.

How do I meet other cachers?

Come along to an event cache, or organise one yourself! You can also email any cacher through the official site. A good way to get to know, and eventually meet, other Irish cachers is to engage in some banter over on the forums or Facebook group. These have proved to be quite popular and are a good way to arrange a meeting or event.

How do I obtain permission to place a cache?

Unravelling land holdings in Ireland is a complicated business. Traditional patterns of ownership and disposal (some dating back for hundreds of years) mean that there can be many layers of freehold, long leases, short leases, sub-lettings, divisions, sub-sub-lettings and annual grazing rights. Here’s a few tips (based on bitter experience) for how to go about getting permission to place a cache.

In regards to the placement of Geocaches on Coillte owned land, Collite have agreed to the placement of Geocaces on Collite land provided that the Leave No Trace principles are followed. For more information, see the Geocaching Guidelines.

Be professional when approaching land owners. Print off all the helpful documents from the Geocaching website, and bring a sample Geocache. Explain the Leave No Trace principals, and if you are meeting Councils, explain the benefits of Geo Tourism. Give GC43, Europe’s First as an example of Geo Tourism. An amazing amount of people travel to Ireland specifically to find the first Geocache placed in Europe, GC43 located on Bray Head, Co Wicklow.

It rains a lot in Ireland – is there such a thing as a totally watertight cache container that I can use?


Why not?

Because even if the box WAS nominally waterproof, you can’t guarantee that people will close it properly.

Here’s is a guide to the types of containers that can be used for a geocache. Containers are rated best to worst, with the (A)dvantages and (D)isadvantages of each container.

Surplus ammo box (new):

Positive closure with rubber seals, robust, spacious (types vary), idiot-proof locking mechanism.
(A) Can take the worst of the weather.
(D) Hard to source; expensive.

Surplus ammo box (used):
As above, but may have been knocked about a bit. Damaged hinges can mean leaks.
(A) Good value.
(D) Pot luck on condition; controlled explosions.

Transit boxes (Otterbox):
Normally used for protecting expensive equipment during shipping. Totally waterproof, but complicated locking mechanism may baffle baby cachers.
(A) Rolls-Royce quality.
(D) Rolls-Royce prices.

Tab-Lock Box:
Ideal cache container and probably the most commonly used container. Huge range of shapes and sizes. Positive seal, almost idiot-proof lock mechanism.
(A) Robust, weatherproof.
(D) Expensive, esp in large sizes. Lid may leak if anything trapped under seal.

Branded kitchenware:
If it says “Rubbermaid” or “Tupperware” then quality is good. Look for flexible lids which seal better in cold weather. Vast range.
(A) Inexpensive.
(D) Lid may leak if not closed correctly.

Generic Kitchenware:
Sold in most supermarkets: a lot is made by Addis but may be branded “Tesco”. Poorer quality and materials; designed for ease of opening, rather than freedom from leaks.
(A) Cheap.
(D) Cheap.

Coffee jar or similar.
Will last for ever, or until accidentally broken. Leakproof. Small capacity.
(A) Recycling.
(D) Fragile.

Chop-suey Special:
The thing your Chinese meal or microwave dinner came in. Small, flimsy; never designed to be used more than once. Leaks automatically.
(A) It’s free.
(D) It’s useless.