The rain was pouring down at a steady pace; the most rain we had seen thus far on our journey and we had already been on the road an entire week. Adam put the wipers on high as I navigated with my map on the winding road south. Though we were on a bit of a tight schedule, I was determined to see that glorious looking formation that I had pinned (and repinned) at least a dozen times on my “Ireland” Pinterest board – Benbulbin.
The road changed to gravel and after driving a little ways we parked in a nearly deserted parking area that was much smaller than I had anticipated. We made sure our coats were zipped tight and we headed down the adjacent trail. After a brisk walk through the tall, bog-lined trees, we came to a clearing and I was not in the least disappointed at the view.
Towering high above, shrouded in fog and dotted with some very soggy sheep was my mountain. We couldn’t see the tops of the rolling plateau that almost appear folded against the mountainside, but I didn’t care. Standing in the rain, looking up at such a magnificent geological wonder, just Adam and I, made it seem like the most magical place in the world. When we returned to the car – our waterproof raincoats were completely soaked through (not to mention the rest of our clothes!).
This majestic mountain has seen its fair share of history. Carved out during the last Ice Age it has stood witness, and even played a role, in some of Ireland’s most iconic moments from the Irish revolution and WWII to the roaming Fianna warriors of the 3rd century AD.
Irish poet W.B. Yeats penned his final poem in view Benbulbin and was buried in it’s ancient shadow.
Under bare Ben Bulben’s head
In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid.
An ancestor was rector there
Long years ago, a church stands near,
By the road an ancient cross.
No marble, no conventional phrase;
On limestone quarried near the spot
By his command these words are cut:
Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!
This memory, and so many others, is what endeared me to the countryside of Ireland. It was here that I could almost hear the traditional songs carrying over the winds or perhaps the twinkle of a mythical faerie darting through the bushes. There is immense sadness, beauty, passion, and a wild nature that hangs in the air and mirrors itself in the varied landscapes of the western coast, which I will outline later in a future post.
Today, however, is just for musings.