Benbulbin , [1] [2] sometimes spelled Ben bulb or Benbulben (from the Irish: Binn Ghulbain ), is a large rock formation in County Sligo, Ireland. It is part of Dartry mountains, in an area which is sometimes called “Yeats country”. [3] [4] [5]

Benbulbin is a protected area, designated as a County Geological Site Sligo County Council. [6] [7]


“Legs bulb”, “Benbulben”, and “Benbulbin” are all anglicisations of Irish name “Binn Ghulbain”. “Binn” means “top” or “mountain”, while “Ghulbain” means beak or jaw in Irish. The literal translation is “beak” or “jaw” peak. [3]

The name is also reflected in the name of the king Conall Gulban, a son of Niall of the nine hostages that were associated with the mountain, but he was named after the mountain or mountain after him is not clear. [3] [8]



A snowy view of Benbulbin, seen from Streedagh Beach, near Grange.

Benbulbin was formed during the Ice Age, when Ireland was under glaciers.Originally it was a great plateau. Glaciers move from northeast to southwest shaped it to its current distinctive formation. [4] [9]

Rock composition

Benbulbin, and the Dartry Mountains as a whole, is composed of limestone on top mudstones. These stones are formed in the area some 320 million years ago in a shallow sea. At the top of the limestone layer is a thicker, harder limestone called Dartry Limestone Formation. Below this is a thinner transition limestone formation – Glencar Limestone Formation. Further down, the lower slopes consists of shaly mudstone called Benbulben Shale Formation. Scree deposits are found near the base. [4] [6]

Fossils found throughout the layers of mountains. All layers have many fossil seashells. Slate stock also has certain corals. [6]

Barytes broken at Glencarbury close Benbulbin in Dartry range between 1894 and 1979. [6]


Benbulbin is an established walking destination. [10] [11] [12] If the stage with The North Face, it is a dangerous pitch. The side bears the brunt of the high winds and storms coming in from the Atlantic. But if approached by the south side, it is an easy walk, as the side slopes very gently. On arrival at the top, the climber is rewarded with a magnificent view of the coastal strip north Co. Sligo and the Atlantic Ocean. [4] The land adjacent to the impressive western edge of the ridge is privately owned agricultural land and not available for allmänheten.Men there is a paved road up the south side of the east near Glencar Waterfall Leitrim County just over the border.

Flora and fauna

Benbulbin host a unique combination of plants, including some organisms are anywhere else in Ireland. Many Arctic-alpine plants, because of the mountain height, which allows for cooler temperatures than normal. These plants were deposited when the glaciers that created Benbulbin melted. Wild hares and foxes inhabit Benbulbin. [4]

In 2012, research showed that fringed sandwort had survived the Ice Age and are perhaps 100,000 years old. In Ireland, the plant is unique to Benbulbin.The discovery questioning earlier agreed that Ireland’s flora and fauna date or after the end of the Ice Age. [13]

In Irish history

Irish legends

Benbulbin is the determination of several Irish legends. It is said to be one of the bases for hunting Fianna, a band of warriors who are said to have lived in the 3rd century. An example is a story where the warrior Diarmuid Ua Duibhne (Diarmuid) fooled by the giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn McCool) into fighting an enchanted boar, which later kills the warrior by piercing his heart with its tusk. The mountain is said to be Diarmuid and Gráinne’s resting place. Even in the 6th century, St. Columba fought a battle on the plains below Benbulbin at CUL Dreimhne (Cooladrumman) for the right to copy a Psalter he had borrowed from St. Finnian. [14]

Irish civil War

On 20 September 1922 under the Irish Civil War, an Irish Republican Army each column, including an armored car corners in Sligo. The car was destroyed by another armored car belonging to the Irish Free State’s National Army, and six of the IRA soldiers fled up Benbulbin slopes. In the end, all were killed, reportedly after they had surrendered. They are known as “Noble Six”. [ Citation needed ]

Brig Seamus Devin TD, Div. Adj. Brian MacNeill, Captain. Harry Benson, Lieut. Paddy Carroll, Vols. Tommy Langan and Joe Banks were killed on the mountain. [15] The six anti-Treaty fighters hunted on the slopes of Benbulbin and killed by Free State forces who were out to avenge the murder of Brigadier Joseph ring eight days earlier. Two of those killed and Ring were the ancestors of today and the new politicians: Call is the great uncle Michael Ring, is McNeill’s uncle by the Tánaiste and Minister for Equality and Law Reform, Michael McDowell and Devin’s grandfather Jimmy Devins. [16] Mary O’Rourke narrated once a radio documentary tells how her grandmother home was used as a hiding place. [16]

  • Benbulbin northern side.
  • Another photograph of the north side.
  • As seen from the south.
  • Benbulbin, with Sligo Bay in the foreground.
  • An eastern view.
  • Part of the northern side of Benbulbin.
  • The top of Benbulbin.
  • A snowy Benbulbin, seen from Streedagh Strand.
  • Taken on the N15, north of Sligo town, near the townland of Shannoneighter.

plane crashes

During World War II there were two plane crashes in mountains near Dartry Benbulbin.

On 9 December 1943 the USAAF Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress plane (road from Goose Bay, Labrador to Prestwick, Scotland) crashed on Truskmore just east of Benbulbin. 10 airmen were on board, of whom three died, two on the spot and one from injuries in the crash. [17] Local residents carried out a rescue, taking the wounded from the mountain where they were then transferred to Sligo County Hospital. Significant wreckage of the plane stayed on the mountain for many years after the crash, and today limited quantities of aircraft fragments still remain on the site. [18]

Near the site of the Flying Fortress crash was a previous crash also includes a military aircraft. On March 21, 1941 an RAF Catalina flying boat (AM265) using the Donegal Corridor crashed into the mountain at Glenade, Co.Leitrim on the east side of Truskmore. All nine airmen on board died in the crash. [18] [19]

recent history

In the 1970s and 1980s, Sinn Féin engaged in a slogan campaign around the theme of “Brits of Ireland”. Roads and walls throughout Ireland had been marked with these slogans that were Benbulbin 1977. It marked the first ‘Brits Out’ (180 feet wide and 25 feet high) and later with the slogan “H-Block”. [Citation needed ]

Benbulbin overlooking the village of Mullaghmore, the site of the assassination of Lord Mountbatten in 1979. [20] [21]

Notable people

The athlete Mary Cullen is from nearby Drumcliffe. [22] Andy “The Bull” MacSharry, involved in a famous 17-year conflict to allow access rights over their land, lives near Benbulbin. [23]

In literature

Benbulbin has a prominent place in the poetry of WB Yeats, after which Yeats Country units. County Sligo considered integral poet’s work. [24] The mountain is one of the destinations in the Passport traces of the poet’s life.[24]

Yeats wrote in The Celtic Twilight :

But for Ben bulb and Knocknarea,
the Many poor sailor’d throw away
. [25]

Yeats famous poem, in Ben bulb , is basically a description of Yeats Country.It describes the sights he saw in Yeats country. The following is an excerpt from Under Ben Bulben :

In the bare-bones bulb head
in the room churchyard Yeats is laid.
An ancestor was rector there
Long years ago, a church stands near,
the road an ancient cross.
No marble, no conventional phrase,
the limestone quarried near the spot
of his command these words are cut:
Cast a cold eye
on life, on death.
Horseman, pass!
– During Ben bulb, WB Yeats

This was Yeats last poem, published in The Irish Times . [26] He is buried in the nearby Drumcliffe churchyard. [26] [27]

Benbulbin seen multiple times in locating the film used in the 2014 film, Calvary.

See also

  • List of mountains in Ireland
  • Wiktionary definition of a bone


  1. Jump up ^ Benbulbin placental Database of Ireland. Retrieved: 2003-03-19.
  2. Jump up ^ Benbulbin Ordnance Survey Ireland. Retrieved: 2003-03-19.
  3. ^ Jump up to: abc “mountains: Benbulbin in the area Dartry Mountains”.Retrieved 2007-04-04.
  4. ^ Jump up to: abcde Reader’s Digest natural wonders of the world. The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc., 1988. ISBN 0-89577-087-3.
  5. Jump up ^ “Yeats Country Drive Sligo”. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
  6. ^ Jump up to: abcd . Williams, Mary Anne (2008) Landscape, rocks and fossils: geological heritage of County Sligo: A measure of the County Sligo Heritage Plan. Sligo Regional Technical College. pp. 21, 22. ISBN 0955565316th
  7. Jump up ^ Marese McDonagh (14 March 2009). “Yeats-link 19th century house demolition can get.” The Irish Times. Retrieved February 7, 2010. Sligo Borough Council has confirmed that it is a recommendation in the recently published draft Sligo Environs Development Plan Markievicz House removed from the list of protected structures. If the elected members vote to delist the building, which in the late 1800s was home to Yeats grandparents, William and Elizabeth Pollexfen, clearing the way for its demolition. […] Stella Mew, CEO of the Yeats Society, which is preparing for the 50th International Yeats Summer School in the summer, says Sligo Yeatsian heritage was “dropped away bit by bit.””Fortunately, Ben bulb and Knocknarea are sacred – they can not delist the mountains or they may be at risk,” she said.
  8. Jump up ^ McGarry, James (1976). Place names in the writings of William Butler Yeats. Smythe. p. 21. ISBN 0901072397th
  9. Jump up ^ “Rootsweb: IRL-Sligo L Climbing Benbulben”. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
  10. Jump up ^ Marese McDonagh (7 January 2010). “10-fold increase in AE patients Sligo”. The Irish Times. Retrieved February 7, 2010. These are not people climbing Ben bulb, “he stressed.” This is beyond people’s front doors when they go on trails or crossing the road.
  11. Jump up ^ Lorna Siggins (24 March 2009). “Arrival of the fittest”. The Irish Times. Retrieved February 7, 2010. She is said to be looking forward to climb Ben bulb again, has already done it several times as a student.
  12. Jump up ^ “Léargas”. Rte. Retrieved February 7, 2010. When he rises Ben bulb, emergency, he feels the lack of certainty about their right to have access to the highlands.
  13. Jump up ^ Edel O’Connell (August 18, 2012). “Researchers find first Irish hardy plant that hit Ice Age.” Irish Independent. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  14. Jump up ^ Bright, Michael (2005). 1001 Natural Wonders You Must See Before You Die. Quintet Publishing Limited. ISBN 0-7641-5817-1.
  15. Jump up ^ Sligo Benbulbin “The Noble Six Cross” © Copyright Michael Murtagh and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  16. ^ Jump up to: ab “Another link in Ben Bulben story”. Mayo News. 4 May 2006. Retrieved February 7, 2010.
  17. Jump up ^
  18. ^ Jump up to: ab Dennis P. Burke. “B-17 Flying Fortress 42-31420” (PDF).Retrieved 28 July 2012.
  19. Jump up ^ Joe McGowan (2003). “The Donegal corridor and the Battle of the Atlantic”. History of Ireland. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  20. Jump up ^ Kim Bielenberg (11 July 2009). “The day’s death came from a clear blue sky.” Irish Independent. Retrieved February 7, 2010.
  21. Jump up ^ Valerie Shanley (23 August 2009). “The shadow of Mullaghmore”. Sunday Tribune. Archived from the original September 9, 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  22. Jump up ^ “Athletics: Cullen back on track after years of hell”. Irish Independent. 5 December 2009. Retrieved 7 February 2010. She is from quaint Drumcliffe, in the heart of Yeats country, surrounded by idyllic sea, sand and Benbulbin but ironically the weather has been unseasonably foul and her preparation makes loneliness long-distance runners.
  23. Jump up ^ Anita Guidera (22 September 2009). “Hill’s life 17 years walker series of loose.” Irish Independent. Retrieved February 7, 2010.
  24. ^ Jump up to: ab . Anita Guidera (29 January 2009) “Poetry fans treading softly on the trail of Yeats’s favorite haunt.” Irish Independent. Retrieved February 7, 2010.
  25. Jump up ^ Christopher Somerville (7 November 2009). “Walk of the week: The Rosses Co. Sligo”. Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 24 January 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  26. ^ Jump up to: ab . Joe Joyce (18 September 1948) “WB Yeats laid to rest in Drumcliffe.” The Irish Times. Retrieved February 7, 2010. The scene at Drumcliffe was Yeats himself. In his last poem, published in The Irish Times, he wrote: Under bare Ben Bulben head / in Drumcliffe Church Yeats is laid. . .
  27. Jump up ^ Orla Tinsley (18 July 1948). “Irish roll”. The Irish Times.Retrieved February 7, 2010. After a quick leg-stretch in Mullaghmore we travel past the looming presence of Ben bulb on the way to Yeats grave in Drumcliff.