Benbulben Part 2: Along The Top


Amidst the bog cotton up on the plateau.


In Part 1 I had gotten up on to the plateau which forms the main part of the Dartry Mountains, and was at the southeastern end of the off-shoot which leads to the summit of Benbulben.  It would be an easy walk to the summit now, with only a slight rise up to the minor summit of Benbulbin South East Top, and a short walk, again with minimal ascent, to the high point of Benbulben.


The skies were gloomy as I made my way around the many sink holes, formed where the limestone rock had been dissolved.  From up on top, I could see however, that there were glimpes of blue sky in some directions, stormy black clouds in others, and it was likely that I would be in for changeable weather.



Benbulben stretching out ahead, with the summit near the end on the right, and Benbulbin South East Top being the high point on the left.



Passing through the sinkholes.









One of the larger sunken areas.



Limestone on the surface.






Near the top of Benbulbin South East Top, and looking backwards.



I loved the views over the Sligo coastline in the changing light.



Looking across Rosses Point.


As I moved off Benbulbin South East Top and continued towards the main summit, the clouds were thickening overhead, and the few shots I took were ruined by rain spots on the lens, but as I reached the trig pillar on Benbulben, it dried up again.



The trig pillar in the middle of a very muddy patch at the summit.


Although I was at the summit, it was in the middle of the broad top, so the views were less dramatic than many other parts of the mountain.  I didn’t linger, but continued north west past the trig pillar to get the views from the northern cliffs.



Sheep on the summit.  Although it had stopped raining on me, there were very dark clouds to be seen in the surrounding skies.



Fantastic clouds over Donegal Bay.  I was standing on one of Ireland’s most iconic mountains, and across the bay, under that cloud, was another – Slieve League.


From the the trig pillar and summit, it was a short walk to the northern cliffs, and they were probably the highlight of the walk.  They offered great views as they dropped vertically to the countryside far below.






























Sunlight beginning to light up the countryside below.


As I stood peering over the cliffs, the sun broke through and illuminated the face of the cliffs to my side.  With Benwiskin and the rest of the landscape behind still in shade under threatening clouds, it gave me my favourite photos of the day.



Benbulben’s cliffs lit up by a break in the clouds, with Benwiskin behind, and dark skies above.




Eventually, I had to leave the drama of the cliff tops and start making my way back.  The changeable weather continued to throw up photo opportunities and I’ll continue in Part 3.



9 thoughts on “Benbulben Part 2: Along The Top

  1. Great pics, Aidy. Love the views of the Sligo coastline and the patchwork countryside below the cliffs. I remember seeing similar views beneath Benwiskin, will have to walk to the edge next time I visit Benbulbin.
    P.S. Heard back from MV, all sorted for the cert on Friday.

  2. Wonderful! It takes me back many years to when I was commissioned to design and weave a tapestry for the Bank of Ireland in Sligo – I used, as you say, the iconic form of Ben Bulben as the inspiration for the work. I wonder if it is still hanging there? You wouldn’t miss it as it measures approximately 15 feet by 4. You also mentioned “Knocknareagh”, another mountain that inspired a large tapestry – unfortunately it was stolen from a gallery in London a long time ago.

    Thanks for “taking me up there” again 🙂

    1. Thanks for the comment Alastair, and its great to have brought back some memories. I’ll definitely check out the bank if I’m back in Sligo and see if the tapestry is still there. I was on Knocknarea too shortly after, and should get round to posting some images from that soon hopefully. I suppose the fact that somebody stole the tapestry could be taken as a twisted compliment! Enjoying your blog by the way.

  3. Beautiful shots and obviously well worth the effort of getting to the top – but sounds difficult terrain with all the boggy bits, treacherous sink holes, and limestone outcrops.

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