Natural landscapes

Benbulben

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Benbulben is known as County Sligo’s 'Table Mountain' and is part of the Dartry Mountains. It is a spectacular iconic geological feature hosting a unique variety of flora.

Benbulben is known as County Sligo’s 'Table Mountain' and is part of the Dartry Mountains. Benbulben was formed as a result of the different responses to erosion of the limestone and shale of which the mountain is formed. A hard and resistant limestone forms the upper cliffs and precipices. Benbulben 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 Benbulben.

The steeper sides of Benbulben are composed of large amounts of Dartry limestone on top of smaller amounts of Glencar limestone. The smoother sides are composed of Benbulben shale. These rocks formed in the area approximately 320 million years ago. Barytes was mined at Glencarbury on the Benbulben range between 1894 and 1979.

Benbulben hosts a unique variety of plants, possessing some organisms found nowhere else in Ireland. Many are artic 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 Benbulben melted. Insects, hares and foxes inhabit Ben Bulben.

The Sligo Tourism Office do not recommend climbing Benbulben. There is however a looped walk around Benbulben and Sligo Tourism Office can give you details of this.