Mining experts have been called in to assess the risk of further collapse around a disused mine in West Cork after a large deep sinkhole emerged over the weekend.
Cork County Council said it appears that the sinkhole, which measures some 20-feet in diameter, is linked to the collapse of a mine shaft in Cahermeeleboe, Allihies on the Beara peninsula.
The area was home to a number of copper mines throughout the 1800s, which operated at various stages over the century.
Up to 1,600 people were employed in the industry at its peak.
The last mining activity in the area ceased in the late 1950s.
The sinkhole began to develop last Thursday after a period of heavy rain and led to the collapse over the weekend of a section of the public road L-8912-0 to the south of Allihies Village.
The road has been closed to the public and public notices notifying the public about the emergency road closure will be published in newspapers in due course.
Barriers have also been erected around the sinkhole to prevent access to the area.
But in a statement this morning, Cork Country Council said there is the potential that the hole could get bigger given the unknown ground conditions in the area, and it has urged people in the area to be vigilant and to exercise caution.
"Cork County Council has asked the Exploration and Mining Division of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment to undertake a survey of the area as a matter of urgency, to determine the extent of the undermining and the potential risk of further collapses in this area," it said.
"Cork County Council is monitoring the situation and staff are currently endeavouring to ascertain contact information for the owners of the mine.
"Further information will issue as this situation develops.
"Cork County Council urges all members of the public not to go near to the sinkhole and to not go beyond the safety barriers."