Perfect weather to explore beautiful Binevenagh outside Derry
Not far outside Derry Binevenagh stands proud overlooking Magilligan, Lough Foyle and Inishowen.
The 385 metre tall table-top basalt plateau which was formed from molten lava 65 million years ago was designated an area of Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 2006.
Its slopes are a habitat for Irish stoats, buzzards, kestrels and hen harriers.
A herd of feral goats can be encountered in the woods thereabouts, while Exmoor ponies graze the grassland of the nature reserve.
A lake on the mountain top is stocked with thousands of rainbow trout.
Binevenagh, or Binn Fhoibhne, meaning ‘Foibhne’s Peak,’ takes its name from an ancient Irish legend.
An old poem contained in the dindshenchas, states that the mountain was named for Foibhne, the son of Taircheltar.
Foibhne was ‘a spencer and cup-bearer’ for the legendary Milesian High King, Eochaid alt-lethan, who is reputed to have reigned in the 2nd or 3rd century BC.
The poet relates how Foibhne ‘slew Illand, son of Erclam’ and in turn was killed by ‘bloodthirsty barbarous Fergna’ at Binevenagh.
“His name remains, without sorrow for a warrior, on much-renowned Benn Foibhne, from the deed I have published in my tale,” the poem goes.
The beauty spot is within easy reach of Derry.
A train to Bellarena, from where you can walk up and down within a few hours, takes 20 minutes from the city.
You can also drive to the top.
From Limavady take the coastal A2 road for around 1.98 miles. Fork right onto the B201 at Artikilly then left at the fork almost a mile further on. Continue straight for a further 3.35 miles. Turn left at the end of the Binevenagh Forest. Take the second Binevenagh Forest entrance on the left.