24 Apr

โ€œBy the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks heโ€™s wrong.โ€ 

Charles Wadsworth

OSI 22

Looking back towards the mainland along the Whin Dyke.

Recently, my son Timmy and I had the opportunity to explore the stunning shoreline of North Mayo. Our primary goal was to capture some good shots of the Stags of Broadhaven and the area's impressive cliffs. We decided to hike a small portion of the Benwee Loop Walk, which offers a well-marked and easy-to-follow route with ample parking at Portacloy Pier and along the side of the roadway.

Benwee Head, North Mayo with the Look Out Post, the EIRE sign and white coloured number 63.

While on the hike, we visited the WW2 lookout post atop Benwee Head. The lookout post is just one of the 83 lookout posts that were built around the coast of Ireland and manned by members of the Local Defence Force during World War II. These coastwatchers were responsible for identifying and reporting on shipping and aircraft movements, as well as any communications between ship and shore.

Portacloy Pier is built on some great stone work !

The coastline looking East from Benwee Head.

The Benwee Head presents stunning vistas of commanding cliffs, rocky bays, and jagged stacks, some of the most dramatic coastal scenery along the Wild Atlantic Way. The cliffs, made up of Dalradian quartzite rocks that date back about 600 million years, were formed by the movement of the American continent against the European one. Benwee Head, at 255 meters, is higher than the Cliffs of Moher and gets its name from the color of the quartzite, "The Yellow Peak" (Irish: "Binn Bhui").

Looking out at the Stags of Broadhaven .

Although the Benwee Loop Walk is a relatively safe hike, extreme caution must be exercised when approaching or getting close to the cliff's edge because the wind can suddenly pick up at the most unexpected times. We enjoyed the hike and the stunning views and agreed that we will definitely be back to complete the full loop walk at some future date.

Benwee Head and surrounding Coastline.

WW2 Look Out Post 63.  


( About the LOPs ),

Following the handover of the treaty ports in 1938, Irish coastal waters were largely unprotected. As such, the Marine and Coastwatch Service was established in 1939. A network of 83 lookout posts (LOPs) was built around the coast of Ireland and manned by members of the Local Defence Force (LDF). The coastwatchers were responsible for identifying and reporting on shipping and aircraft movements, as well as any communications between ship and shore. The Marine and Coastwatch Service was disbanded in October 1945.

 The nine Look Out Post locations in Co Mayo.


Nine LOPs in Mayo ranged in number from 57 at Roonagh in the south all the way up to 65 at Kilcummin Head in the north. Eight of the nine posts in the county are still intact and in varying states of repair; only one has entirely collapsed (Annagh Head, no. 61). Eight of the eleven EIRE signs (Achill has three) are still clearly visible, although Kilcummin's sign is gone, and it's unclear whether the signs at Roonagh and above Keem Beach are actually gone or are only buried with vegetation.

One of the log books of LOP 63 that recorded all sea craft and airplane activity off the coast in 1939โ€“1940.


All air and marine movements were tracked round-the-clock, and the HQ in Athlone received regular telephone reports in response. An intriguing entry about a submarine sighting is logged on this page. The entry indicates that at 0830 hrs on the 10th October 1939, the submarine is one mile due west from the LOPs position and traveling north. With low visibility the nationality of the vessel has not  been Identified.


After leaving Benwee Head, we made our way up to Spot Height 117, where we were greeted with a magnificent vista looking west. We got some great shots here, especially of the Sea Caves at the base of the cliffs. It was a very nice few hours spent in this great spot, and we highly recommend it to anyone who loves nature and hiking.

looking towards the west from spot height 117.

Photographing the sea caves below.

Surrounding Cliffs offer Great views

Carpe Diem


When we visited Benwee Head, Timmy had just a few days left before flying out to Australia to start working for CH4 Global, so it will be a while before the two of us get together again to do a walk like this.

Timmy has been employed by Bantry Marine Research Station Ltd. in West Cork for the past year or so following the completion of his MSc in Applied Coastal and Marine Management at UCC. He now goes on to be involved in research on CH4 Globals mission of "meaningfully impacting climate change at scale, by developing gigatonne-scale greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation solutions for global industries and governments that are committed to averting climate disaster and acting for a net zero world.โ€

Timmy is being accompanied by his girlfriend, Laura, who will also  be working  for CH4 Global,

We wish them both the best of luck in their new endeavour !

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