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The Poet Inspiring Benbulbin, The Table Mountain of Ireland

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Benbulbin, ( aka Benbulben ) the table mountain of ireland is one of the most photographed mountains in Ireland. It is a must-see area for any trip to Ireland.

Anyone that sees the beauty of the area will want to come back and see more. In addition, Benbulbin is also the setting of many Irish legends and folklore. It is Located in one of the most beautiful regions of Ireland, County Sligo.

Benbulbin’s large table like flat top formation of rock, forms part of the Dartry Mountains. Some people refer to the area as Yeats Country because the Poet William Butler Yeats that spent his childhood holidays in the area. From a young age Yeats studied poetry and found a special interest in irish legends. Yeats found his final resting place at Drumcliffe Churchyard.

Did you know you can have Benbulbin hanging on your wall?

Benbulbin Canvas

The rocks that formed Benbulbin started off about 320 million years ago in a shallow area in the sea.

The mountain range gets its name from the uppermost thicker Dartry Limestone layer. The Glencar Limestone layer is thinner and lies below the uppermost layer.

Mudstone forms the lower slopes of the Benbulbin mountain. All the layers of the mountains contains fossils and sea shells. In addition, the lower slopes of the mountain also contains corals.

 See more about Benbulbin here…

What you need to know when Climbing Benbulbin

Benbulbin’s northern face gets a lot of high winds and storms. These winds and storms originate from the Atlantic ocean and is dangerous to climb. The southern slope is much easier to climb due to the more gentle slope. When you get to the top you can view the atlantic ocean as well as areas of the northern county Sligo coastline. There is an paved accessible path close to the Leitrim Border. This path goes up the south leading to the east near the Glencar Waterfall. You can also embark on a 5.5 kilometres walk along the Gartrowey walk. This walk runs through the forest as well as through the open where you can catch a glimpse of some spectacular views of Benbulbin as well as the picturesque bay of Donegal. The walk will take about 1 and a half hours to complete.  

Benbulbin is the only place in Ireland where you can find arctic alpine plants. They are located at the top of the mountain where the temperature is much cooler. Glaciers that formed Benbulbin melted and this created an environment for these plants to grow. Animals found roaming in the mountains includes Hares and Foxes . Fringed Sandwort is one of the plants that have survived the Ice Age. These plants are as old as 100,000 years. 

The tales of Irish legends and mysteries of the folklore

A few irish legends originate from Benbulbin, one of them that the mountain is where the 3rd century Fianna warriors hunted. According to Irish legends, Diarmuid Ua Duibhne tricked the Giant Finn Mac Cumhaill into fighting a magically enchanted boar.

The boar killed Diarmuid by pushing his tusk through his heart. Fionn mac Cumhaill found his long lost son Oisin at Benbulbin. You can spot entrances to the mine where Barite was once mined. An old school building is located on the side of the mountain, just behind it you can see the entrance to the cave where Irish legends Dairmuid and Grainne supposedly spent their last night. 

Villages near Benbulbin

Them many strams that flow down Benbulbin’s side forms the grange river. It forms a mouth into the sea at Grange Town. Please ask for permission when walking across the many areas around Benbulbin because many of these areas are privately owned.

One of the closest villages to Benbulbin is Mullaghmore where you can find the iconic Classiebawn Castle. The IRA blew up Lord Mountbatten’s boat in 1979 killing him. The original castle was built for the 3rd Viscount Palmerston in 1784. This size of the estate is around 10 000 acres located near Cliffoney. The castle as you can see it today was built during the 19th century. First time improvements made n 1939 by Mountbatten was installing electricity and running watere. It is not possible to tour Classiebawn castle as it is still privately owned.

List of Places in Sligo

Drumcliffe Village, County Sligo – Resting Place of W.B. Yeats

Thomas Connolly Pub Sligo

Benbulbin, The Table Mountain of Ireland

Hargadon Brothers

Classiebawn Castle

By the way, have you seen the real Table Mountain?

Ready for that trip to Ireland? Start planning here!


Last updated May 29, 2023


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Get The Ultimate Ireland Travel Bundle When You Join and Stay Updated On Everything About The Emerald Ilse. Your Free Travel Bundle will include Free PDF Downloads as well as Online Resources that we update regularly.

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