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Binn a’ tSaighdiúra

Binn a’ tSaighdiúra

The astute user of maps of the Twelve Bens will be familiar with the name Binn a’ tSaighdiúra and it’s location roughly halfway between Binn Chorr (Bencorr) and Binn a’ Choire Bhig (Bencorrbeg). The name Binn a’ tSaighdiúra means the ‘soldiers peak’ or more properly ‘sappers peak’ and is a memory of the 19th century Ordnance Survey soldiers/ sappers who spent time on the heights here measuring angle by theodolite for triangulation work.

However the ascribing of this name Binn a’ tSaighdiúra to this point described above was an error. The late Tim Robinson apparently collected the name along with the name Binn Chorr for the heights there from the Inagh Valley side and understood them to be different places. However later when making enquiries in Gleann Chóchan (Glencoaghan) on the far side, he realised the Gleann Chóchan farmers referred to Binn Chorr as Binn a’ tSaighdiúra. This situation is not unusual, both in a mountain having different names on different sides and also in terms of the process of tightening up the placename record. Unfortunately by the time he figured this out, maps had been published and copied showing the name Binn a’ tSaighdiúra in the incorrect position described above.

So the Inagh people talk of Binn Chorr whilst in Gleann Chóchan they called it Binn a’ tSaighdiúra. It’s not hard to understand the latter when you consider that it’s handier to start the approach to Binn Chorr from Gleann Chóchan. What’s true now was true for the 19th century survey teams hauling up equipment and provisions. It was necessary to stay for several days at a time up there awaiting breaks in the cloud and the sappers may have camped at a place called Tinteanaí on the southern shoulder. So the local residents of Gleann Chóchan were wont to associate the mountain with the sappers – Binn a’ tSaighdiúra.

Map of the Twelve Ben Mountains in Connemara

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Barry Dalby

    Perhaps worth adding that Bencorr was an important observation point in the 19th century primary triangulation of Ireland. So sightings were taken from here over periods of weeks and months to the likes of Keeper Hill, Slieve More on Achill and even as far as Brandon down in Dingle. There would have been a considerable amount of activity and personnel associated with it. Knockanaffrin in the Comeragh hills was also in this network and is known locally by a similar name Stol a’ tSaighdiúra.

  2. Tony Doherty

    With no means of communication and no weather forecasts, it must have taken some patience to get bearings on the more distant peaks. Bearings had to be taken at night using Lime Lamps (a mix of hydrogen and oxygen gases used to heat a block of lime to incandescence). It must have been very frustrating to have a fine night on Bencorr but not a twinkle from Brandon as the cloud would be down on it.

    1. Barry Dalby

      I’d say they spent a fair bit of time up there Tony! Big instrument to carry as well and set up.

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