Drumcliffe and Rathcormac
Twin villages in the shadow of Benbulben in north county Sligo, Ireland
Located in north County Sligo, the twin rural villages of Drumcliffe and Rathcormac are defined by their coastal setting on the shores of Drumcliffe Estuary but more so by the looming presence of one of Ireland’s most iconic and recognisable mountains, Benbulben, in whose shadow they lie.
Given its coastal setting between the mountains and the sea, this area has long been of strategic importance to those seeking control of the northwest route between Connaught and Ulster, the reason why so many battles are recorded as having taken place here in centuries past.
The Battle of Cúl Dreimhne
The Battle of Cúl Dreimhne (Cooldrumman), better known as the “Battle of the Books”, is recorded as having taken place on the lower slopes of Benbulben in or about 560CE. Tradition associates the early Irish Saint Colmcille with the well-known battle between regional forces seeking control of area and attributes the establishing of a monastery in Drumcliffe in 574CE as his atonment for his involvement in the battle.
While few physical traces remain of Drumcliffe monastery, which existed until the late 16th century, the present-day Saint Columba’s Church – and nearby Saint Colmcille’s Church in Rathcormac – continue the long-held association of the area with Ireland’s first native-born Patron Saint. It is in the churchyard of St. Columba’s Church that the grave of the Nobel Laureate William Butler Yeats can be found. It was his wish to be buried here, “Under bare Ben Bulben’s head”, in the grounds of the church where his great-grandfather was rector of the church in the early 19th century.
Today, we welcome you to come visit, explore, and enjoy the many attractions and amenities found in our two villages and the surrounding area, our own “Land of Heart’s Desire”
Where We Are Located
Drumcliffe and Rathcormac are situated in north county Sligo on the north west coast of Ireland