Snow Capped Benbulben

This photograph of Benbulben was taken in December 2014 at Barnaribbon, Co. Sligo. The first snow of the year left a fine dusting on the mountain range but the lower foothills remained untouched and I think this gives a nice bit of contrast to the picture.

Benbulben forms part of the Dartry Mountain range and dominates the horizon throughout much of County Sligo. While this panorama shot is focused on Benbulben Head and the gentle southern slopes of the mountain, the northern face of the mountain is one of dramatic cliffs. The mountain range twists around into the Glencar valley to the right of the photo.

Local lore has it that ‘Benbulben Country’ in North Sligo is one of the few places in Ireland where fairies (or ‘the gentry’ as they are sometimes known) are thought to be visible to humans. A local man is quoted in Padraic Feehily’s book ‘Around the Borough’ as having his first encounter with the gentry while out hunting with a friend on the slopes of Benbulben. This local was told by the gentry in a sweet silvery voice ‘the seldomer you come to this mountain the better, a young lady here wants to take you away”.

This theme of fairies luring people away is central to many of the poems of WB Yeats, perhaps most famously in The Stolen Child:

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

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© Ciaran McHugh Photography 2009-2017, by Sea Design