Benwee Head

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Benwee Head Cliffs
An Bhill Bhui
Benwee Head Cliffs is located in Ireland
Benwee Head Cliffs
Benwee Head Cliffs
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 54°20′01″N 9°49′15″W / 54.333659°N 9.820924°W / 54.333659; -9.820924Coordinates: 54°20′01″N 9°49′15″W / 54.333659°N 9.820924°W / 54.333659; -9.820924
Country Ireland
Province Connacht
County County Mayo
Elevation 304 m (997 ft)
Time zone WET (UTC+0)
 • Summer (DST) IST (WEST) (UTC-1)
Irish Grid Reference F816443
Benwee Head with the Stags of Broadhaven Bay behind
Children of Lir sculpture at Stonefield, Kilcommon, Erris. Benwee Head behind.

The environs of Benwee Head (Gaelic: An Bhinn Bhuí 'the yellow cliff') County Mayo, with its cliffs, arches, stacks and islands, offers some of the most dramatic coastal scenery in Ireland. These cliffs tower over Broadhaven Bay in the Atlantic Ocean and there are way-marked cliff walking trails along them for which maps can be obtained from Comhar Dún Chaocháin Teo in Carrowteige. To appreciate the cliffs fully, you need to see them from the sea.[1] Benwee Head is in the townland of Kilgalligan in the parish of Kilcommon, Erris, a townland whose microtoponyms (field place names) and folklore traditions has been studied in detail in the 1975 book, The Living Landscape: Kilgalligan.[2] An Bhinn Bhuí is the 1001st highest summit in Ireland and is all the more spectacular as its north sides drop vertically into the wild Atlantic Ocean. An Bhinn Bhuí is the most northerly summit in the North Mayo area.

The north coast of Mayo[edit]

The remote and rugged north coast of Mayo is one of Ireland’s best kept secrets. Its majestic cliffs, rugged headlands, rocky coves and jagged stacks are apparent only to those willing to walk away from the main thoroughfares to discover them.

Dun Chaocháin peninsula[edit]

The Dun Chaocháin peninsula in Kilcommon parish, Erris is one of great physical beauty and has retained many of its old traditions and culture. The Irish language is still in full vigour as the vernacular.

Dun Chaochain cliffs[edit]

The spectacular Dun Chaochain cliffs have featured in various walking guidebooks and walks during the summer periods are organised by Comhar Dún Chaocháin Teo in Carrowteige, the main village on the Dún Chaocháin peninsula.[3] Benwee Head at 255m high is the crowning glory.

Stags of Broadhaven[edit]

The Stags of Broadhaven (a group of four precipitous rocky islets rising to almost 100m) are located about 2 km north of Benwee Head and are a site of ornithological importance.


The looped walk incorporates the Children of Lir Tir Saile sculpture.[4] The well-known legend tells the tale of children who were turned into swans and condemned to wander the countryside for 900 years. The key feature of the loop is the black ditch – a dry ditch which runs parallel to the coastline and clifftops and probably marked the boundaries of lands in previous times. The looped walks along the cliffs are marked with red, green and blue arrows according to the type of walk the individual or group wishes to follow.[5]

Map data[edit]

Benwee Head Cliffs (Gaelic: An Bhinn Bhuí 'the yellow cliff'), County Mayo, Ireland.

  • Height: 304 metres
  • OS 1/50k Mapsheet: 22 for top
  • Grid Ref: F816 443
  • Latitude: 54.333659
  • Longitude: -9.820924
  • ITM: 481576 844301
  • Prominence: 230m
  • Isolation: 5.4 km

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "DÚLRA Nature Tours :: Bird Watching, Sea Angling & Inishkea Island Boat Tours :: Belmullet, Co.Mayo, Ireland". Retrieved 2012-02-11. 
  2. ^ The Living Landscape: Kilgalligan, Erris, Co. Mayo by Seamas O Cathain & Patrick O'Flanagan
  3. ^ "newsletter 1". 1995-03-28. Retrieved 2012-02-11. 
  4. ^ "Tír Sáile - The North Mayo Sculpture Trail". Retrieved 2012-02-11. 
  5. ^ "Walking in Ireland, Hikes, Trails and Events guides". Retrieved 2012-02-11. [permanent dead link]

Further reading[edit]

  • Ireland - things to see and do
  • Ni Gearraigh, T. MacGraith, Uinsionn. Dun Chaochain Walks", twenty four walks known as the "Siuloidi Iorrais" (Erris Walks)