Unfortunately many of those remains discovered in the 18th–19th centuries have been lost to science, and possibly reburied elsewhere. However, there has been more recent work by Dr Marion Dowd who excavated in the cave in 2004. The analysis of the human remains from these excavations and the surviving material from earlier digs by Dr Lynda Lynch has identified around 50 individuals ranging from very small infants, children, juveniles and male and female adults.
What is really interesting about this detailed analysis of the human remains is that none of them show any signs of violence, which puts it at odds with the traditional story of a massacre. While a lack of evidence for trauma appears to cast doubt on the story of the Vikings brutally slaughtering those hiding in the cave, it does not discount that people may have suffocated due to fires, as in the second version of the tale. However no evidence of burning was found anywhere near the cave mouth, and the large complex size of the cave would keep the air circulating, casting doubt on this version of the story.
Despite these questions, the Viking association with Dunmore is undeniable. A large number of Viking-style artefacts have been found in the cave, mainly items of personal dress like beads, pins, bracelets and so on, perhaps worn by those whose skeletal remains were found here. So if it was a massacre of Irish people by the Vikings, why does so much of the artefactual assemblage suggest that it was the Viking themselves who were interred within the cave?
Rather than the scene of a massacre, it appears perhaps more likely that Dunmore Cave was a Viking burial place, a sacred space for loved ones to rest. This is paralleled by Cloghermore Cave in County Kerry, and shows that some Scandinavian communities in Ireland sought out caves to use for this purpose. Though it appears from the evidence that there was a variety of activity happening at Dunmore Cave.