(alternatively spelt Benbulben
) (Binn Ghulbain [GE]) is a large rock formation
in Ireland. It is a Ben
(the Irish name for a large, glacier-carved rock). It is located in the Irish county
, known unofficially as Yeats
"Ben Bulben", "Benbulben", and "Benbulbin" are all anglicizations of the Irish name "Binn Ghulbain". "Binn" is the word most often used for "peak" or "mountain", while "Ghulbain" means either "Gulban(’s)" or "jaw-shaped". The two most common translations
are "Gulban’s peak" and "jaw-shaped peak."
Ben Bulben was formed during the Ice age, when large parts of the Earth were under glaciers. It was originally merely a large ridge, however the moving glaciers cut into the earth, leaving a distinct formation, now called Ben Bulben.
The steeper sides of Ben Bulben are composed of large amounts of Dartry limestone
on top of smaller amounts of Glencar
limestone. The smoother sides are composed of Ben Bulben shale
. These rocks formed in the area approximately 320 million years ago.
If climbed by the north
face, it is a dangerous climb. That side bears the brunt of the high winds
that come in from the Atlantic Ocean
. However, if climbed by the south
side, it is an easy climb, due to the fact that side slopes very gently. Upon reaching the summit, the climber is rewarded with a magnificent view of Yeats Country.
Flora and fauna
Ben Bulben hosts a unique variety of plants, possessing some organisms found nowhere else in Ireland. Many are arctic-alpine
plants, due to the mountain's height, which allows for cooler temperatures than is normal. These plants were deposited when the glaciers that created Ben Bulben melted. Insects
, wild hares
, and foxes
inhabit Ben Bulben.
In Irish history
Ben Bulben is the setting of many Celtic legends
. It is said to be the dwelling
of the Fianna
, a band of warriors who lived in the third century. One example is a story in which the warrior Diarmuid Ua Duibhne
(Diarmund) is tricked 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 Grainne's resting places. Also, in the 6th century, St. Columba
led 3,000 soldiers
up Ben Bulben to fight for the right for the saint to copy from a Psalter
he had borrowed from St. Finnian
Irish Civil War
In September 1922, during the Irish Civil War
, an Irish Republican Army
column, including an armoured car were cornered in Sligo. The car was destroyed by another armoured car belonging to the Irish Free State
's National Army
, and six of the IRA soldiers fled up the Ben Bulben's slopes. In the end, all were killed, allegedly after they had surrendered. They are known as the "Noble Six".
Under Ben Bulben
The famous poem, Under Ben Bulben
, (written by W. B. Yeats
, after whom Yeats Country is named), is basically a description of Yeats Country. It describes the sights that he saw in Yeats Country.
The following is an excerpt from Under Ben Bulben