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Benbulbun and Benwhiskin Co Sligo
Benbulbin, and the Dartry Range, is composed of limestones on top of mudstones. These rocks formed in the area approximately 320 million years ago. Uppermost in the limestone layer is a thicker, harder limestone called the Dartry Limestone Formation. Below this is a thinner transitional limestone formation – the Glencar Limestone Formation. Further down, the lower slopes consist of shaly mudstone known as the Benbulben Shale Formation. Scree deposits are found near the base.Benbulban’s top is not bare like the famous poet from the area W.B.Yates wrote but covered with blanket bog.Benbulbin hosts a unique variety of plants, including 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 Benbulbin melted. Wild hares inhabited Benbulbin.
In 2012, research revealed that the Fringed Sandwort had survived the Ice Age and is perhaps 100,000 years old. In Ireland the plant is unique to Benbulbin. The discovery calls into question the prior consensus that Ireland’s flora and fauna date from or after the end of the Ice Age.
Benwhiskin in the mountain ringed Gleniff Horseshoe; one could be forgiven for thinking they were in the Swiss Alps. To the left of Benwhiskin an old metal mine can be seen, remnants of the area’s industrial past. The mine was used until the middle of the 20th century. This is a natural area of beauty with an abundance of wildlife steeped in history.
Benbulban Challenging Hill Walk 6hrs 13km 525m
Benwiskin Moderate Hill Walk 4hrs
Creevy Coastal Walk Moderate 3hrs
Creevy Shore Walk, a purpose built coastal footpath 10 miles in length running from Rossnowlagh through Creevy to the mouth of the Erne Estuary in Ballyshannon. Walkers will be enchanted by breathtaking views along the Co-op’s specially constructed cliff walk. The route passes over moor and farmland and is equipped with fence stiles and direction markers. This walk is most suited to the physically fit -a must for the explorer!
On the Creevy Coastal walk are the ruins of Kilbarron Castle, home of Michael O’Cleary, and the Four Masters, a group of Franciscan lay brothers, who penned the Annals of the Four Masters, a most significant piece of history going back over the centuries.
Easy 1-2hr walks 5km
Mountcharles Historical village and Shore Road with a visit to Salthill Gardens (€5 entry fee)
The hilltop village of Mountcharles commands a picturesque and panoramic view of Donegal Bay and the mountains of Derry, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Leitrim, Sligo and Mayo. The old Irish name for the village, Tamhnach an tSalainn – the Field of the Salt – dates back to the 1700’s and is derived from the salt works on the Hall Demesne estate where salt was extracted from seawater and used in salting herring. The English name Mountcharles came into use after the Plantation, and is attributed to Albert Conyngham, an ancestor of the present Lord Henry Mountcharles of Slane Castle, who was raised to the peerage in 1666 by King Charles II and took the name Lord Mountcharles in honour of the King. The Conynghams lived in Hall Demesne estate. The Big Peir was built in 1847 as a Famine Pier. The Shore Road is on the route of The Atlantic Way.