Dún na mBó Promontory Fort

Dún na mBó Promontory Fort, North Mayo
https://www.tripadvisor.ie/Attraction_Review-g211862-d8118944-Reviews-Dun_na_mBo-Belmullet_County_Mayo_Western_Ireland.html

Promontory Forts were a fortified coastal headland or sea – grit Promontory of land.  The seaward sides were naturally defended by cliffs whilst the landward side was protected by one or several straight or curved ramparts of earth or stone with accompanied ditches.  The vertical cliff faces provided natural defences.  Most of the Promontory Forts information is based on the pioneering work of Thomas Johnson Westroff (who visited then recorded them between 1898 & 1922) at one hundred & ninety – five sites in the West & South of Ireland.  He published twenty papers that dwelt with his findings.  Over three hundred Promontory Forts have been identified along the Irish coast with nine the subject of an Archaeological excavation.  They possibly dated from the Iron Age.  Evidence from excavations, historical documents, Tudor maps etc, suggested that occupation was from circa 1100 or later through the Medieval period.  During 1936 the first scientific excavation occurred at Larribane, Co. Antrim. Doonamo was excavated during 1999.  As late as the end of the twentieth century Archaeologists classified those forts as a sub – class of the less numerous hillforts.  The suggested purpose of the forts were as landing areas for seagoing invaders, or a temporary refuge place during inland attack.  The have been employed as trading bases, ceremonial enclosures, observation posts plus livestock pounds. [i]

This Dún na mBó at Doonamo, Erris, North Mayo is over the natural blowhole referred to as the Cattle Fort, that once existed at the edge of the Promontory Fort.  Blowholes found at seacaves grew landwards & upwards into vertical shafts.  These exposed themselves towards the land surface.  With the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean the seawater is pushed upwards also outwards.  A Sculpture by Travis Price was erected at the site during 2002. [ii]

Dún na mBó is located at Doonamo Point at the North Eastern end of the Mullet Peninsula.  It is one of Ireland’s most spectacular Blowholes also one of the Discovery Points along Mayo’s Wild Atlantic Way.  An interesting sculpture by American Artist Travis Price is atop the high cliffs.  It is part of the Tir Saile Trail of North Mayo.  It encompasses the natural Blowhole.  The Sculpture commemorates all those lost at sea.  One mat read a descriptive notice at the entrance gate of ‘the early Celts believed ‘thin places’ – geographical locations scattered throughout Ireland where a person experiences only a very thin divide between past, present, and future times.  Places where a person is somehow able, possibly only for a moment to encounter a more ancient reality within present time; or places where perhaps only in a glance we are somehow transported into the future.’  A black & white image by Anthony Hickey may be viewed on this link. [iii]

Dún na mBó in North Mayo is a unique cliff top place where one may view the Atlantic Ocean or Eagle Island Lighthouse.  This Discovery Point is situated atop the cliffs in one of Ireland’s wildest areas of Erris in North Mayo.  A Sculpture was established around the blowhole during 2002.  The entrance is via a pedestrian gate to this National Monument. [iv]

Oliver Dixon has produced a stunning image of Dún na mBó Blowhole at Doonamo Point that portrays the natural blowhole of the area.  A Sculpture, part of Tir Saile trail was established as one of the sites along the North Mayo Sculpture Trail.  During 2002 this ‘Blowhole’ sculpture was designed by American Artist Travis Price.  It is dedicated to all those souls lost at sea.  This Sculpture comprises a thin corridor between high walls that produces a spectacular view of this natural blowhole in from the cliff edge.  It is surrounded by a circular wall, surmounted by metal rods.  A pedestrian gate permits one access to the site.  An explanatory notice at the entrance gate describes how ‘the early Celts believed ‘thin places’ – geographical locations scattered throughout Ireland where a person experiences only a very thin divide between past, present, and future times.  Places where a person is somehow able, possibly only for a moment to encounter a more ancient reality within present time; or places where perhaps only in a glance we are somehow transported into the future.’ [v]

Situated atop one of the wildest places at Erris.  Dún na mBó has a famous Blowhole with a Sculpture surrounding it as part of The Discovery Points in North Mayo.  Visitors may experience the wild Atlantic waves pushing up through the land.  The Sculpture at the site is accessible via a pedestrian gate. [vi]

On Dún na mBó or Doonamo Point at the Belmullet Pensula in Co. Mayo is a sculpture that was installed around a blowhole designed by designed by American Artist Travis Price.  It is dedicated to all those souls lost at sea.  Entrance is via a gate with a notice that describes how ‘the early Celts believed ‘thin places’ – geographical locations scattered throughout Ireland where a person experiences only a very thin divide between past, present, and future times.  Places where a person is somehow able, possibly only for a moment to encounter a more ancient reality within present time; or places where perhaps only in a glance we are somehow transported into the future.’  There is a photo by Raymond Fogerty plus a map on this site. [vii]

At Dún na mBó or Gob Dhún na mBó on the Mullet Peninsula is a craggy cliff landscape.  Part of the North Mayo Sculpture Trail passes through the area.  One of the artworks resembles the early fort towers on top of the cliffs that surrounded a blowhole. [viii]

Footnotes

There are several images of Sculpture, Blowhole plus cliffs at this link: https://www.inspirock.com/ireland/belmullet/dun-na-mbo-a5308521241

This site has two images of Dún na mBó: https://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g211862-d8118944-i133680890-Dun_na_mBo-Belmullet_County_Mayo_Western_Ireland.html

Mary Tallot Walsh has an excellent video on Facebook of the Sculpture & Blowhole at this link: https://www.facebook.com/ConnaughtTelegraph/videos/d%C3%BAn-na-mb%C3%B3-is-a-spectacular-blow-hole-and-sculpture-its-one-of-the-wild-atlantic/2355475281415558/

Facebook page has this video of Dún na mBó on 16th October 2017: https://www.facebook.com/ConnaughtTelegraph/videos/dun-na-mbo-belmullet-half-an-hour-ago-video-jane-jana/10155126370418262/

A Youtube video by John Gaughan of a Drone over the area may be viewed at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1jSR6N5eUU

‘Stories of Loss Promontory Forts & Climate Change’ Discussion may be viewed on Youtube as part of ‘The Discovery Channel’ at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sILUJOx6fxM

The author has provided information of this Sculpture by Travis Price at this link: https://www.ouririshheritage.org/content/archive/place/miscellaneous-place/mayos-spirit-of-place-project

Bibliography

[i] Promontory Fort (http://what-when-how.com/medieval-ireland/promontory-forts-medieval-ireland/) [assessed 8th January 2021]

[ii] Visit Belmullet (http://visitbelmullet.ie/gowilddetails/dun-na-mbo/) [assessed 9th January 2021]

[iii] Take the Road (https://mayo.me/2014/12/26/take-the-road-to-dun-na-mbo/) [assessed 9th January 2021]

[iv] Visit Dún na mBó (https://www.discoverireland.ie/mayo/dun-na-mbo-doonamo-point) [assessed 9th January 2021]

[v] The Blowhole (https://www.geograph.ie/photo/1855579) [assessed 9th January 2021]

[vi] Dún na mBó (https://www.mayo.ie/itineraries/wild-atlantic-way/doonamo) [assessed 9th January 2021]

[vii] Doonamo Point (https://www.activeme.ie/guides/doonamo-point-belmullet-co-mayo-wild-atlantic-way-ireland/) [assessed 9th January 2021]

[viii] Doonamo Point ( https://www.irelandhighlights.com/info/doonamo-point/) [assessed 8th January 2021]

 

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