One of the first things that a visitor to Sligo will notice is the impressive shape of “Ben Bulben” dominating the skyline to the north of the town. The name is an anglicisation of the Irish Binn Ghulbain, meaning “Gulbans’s Peak” or “Jaw-shaped Peak”. W.B. Yeats in one of his last and most well-known poems ‘Under Ben Bulben’, penned the line: Where Ben Bulben sets the scene, which I think describes the mountain perfectly. (If you are interested, I wrote about Yeats and Ben Bulben before here).
Ben Bulben impressively sets the scene for what ever the performance might be, whether in mythology, such as with the legend of Diarmuid and Gráinne or the poetry of Yeats, or the more recent pantomime of Andy ‘the Bull’ McSharry, a farmer who fashioned himself after John B. Keane’s famously unaccommodating character Bull McCabe in The Field. Ben Bulben had its role to play in more troubled parts of Irish history too, such as a refuge (albeit a futile one) for IRA soldiers during the Civil War or as the backdrop for a huge “Brits Out” (180 ft wide and 25 ft high) sign during the 1970′s. A good starting place to find out more about this fascinating mountain is this Wikipedia article.
Below are a few photos of the mountain all taken a couple of weeks ago.
These photos were taken while we were up in Sligo for the New Wine Summer Conference. One of the great things about Sligo is its beautiful landscapes and seascapes which more than in any other place I have ever been make me want to fall on my knees and worship the One who brought it all into being…
Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast in the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.