Twelve Bens

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Bencorr from across Lough Inagh

The Twelve Bens, or Twelve Pins (Irish: Na Beanna Beola), form a mountain range of sharp-peaked quartzite mountains, in northeast of Roundstone in Connemara; a region of County Galway famed for its wild beauty.

There is disagreement about which mountains are the twelve from which the range takes its name. In the Irish language In Irish the range is simply na Beanna Beola, meaning "the peaks of Beola" (after a giant and chieftain of the legendary Fir Bolg). Roderic O'Flaherty, who wrote in 1684 of the twelve high mountaines of Bennabeola, but he did not name the twelve. His number has stuck in the English name.

The peaks are forbidding in their aspect though dedicated fell runners attempt to hike all twelve peaks in a single day. Even for those less hardened than the fell-runners, the Twelve Bens provide excellent walking and climbing opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.

The rainfall here is heavy and frequent and the water running from the steep-sided mountains produces an abundance of small trickles and burns which descend into wide-bottomed valleys below the Twelve Bens to join larger streams with riffles and pools.

The highest point in the Twelve Bens is Benbaun at 2,392 feet (County Galway's county top too). Topographically, this range is partnered with the Maumturks range on the other side of the lonely Glen Inagh (and the route of Western Way long distance path).

Highest points

The following table lists the 12 highest mountain peaks of the Twelve Bens Mountains, all with a topographic elevation of at least 1,690 feet). There are a number of mountains higher than Benglenisky, but do not have sufficient prominence to be included in this list.

Rank Mountain Height Irish name
1 Benbaun 2,392 feet Binn Bhán
2 Bencorr 2,333 feet Binn Chorr
3 Bencollaghduff 2,283 feet Binn Dubh
4 Benbreen 2,267 feet Binn Bhraoin
5 Derryclare 2,221 feet Binn Doire Chláir
6 Bengower 2,178 feet Binn Gabhar
7 Muckanaght 2,146 feet Meacanach
8 Benfree 2,093 feet Binn Fraoigh
9 Bencullagh 2,073 feet An Chailleach
10 Benbrack 1,909 feet Binn Breac
11 Benlettery 1,893 feet Binn Leitrí
12 Benglenisky 1,693 feet Binn Glean Uisce
Benbaun from north of Lough Inagh


  • "The Mountains of Connemara : A Hill Walker's Guide" (ISBN 0-9504002-4-6) includes a more useful 1:50000 map than the OS maps 37, 38, 44.

Outside links