Narnian Trail: Giants, Stone Tables and Digory

posted in: Photography | 26

Last weekend I started to lead you all on a CS Lewis Narnian Trail. Part of that trail was through East Belfast and the Mountains of Mourne. It’s an area known as the ‘real-life Narnia’ as the scenic beauty inspired CS Lewis to write about the land of Narnia. In fact, if this is your first visit here you can read and view the pictures here. However, just let me finish off our little trip around the Mournes with the following:

cs lewis door handle aslan
This is the Aslan door handle that still to this day is on the front door of St Marks old manse front door. With an arty touch added by myself!

Giants and Stone Tables

Northern Ireland is known for its myths and legends especially of giants. And like myself ‘Jack’ would have been told those stories as a child. Furthermore, the Legananny Dolmen in Co Down is supposed to mark a giant’s grave. Moreover, the word ‘dolmen’ is an ancient name meaning a ‘Stone Table’.

Thanks to Kitty from Into My Own for allowing me to use her photo of the stone table at Leganarry Dolmen.
Mourne Mountain Collage Cloughmore Stone, Leganarry Dolmen

As for the big boulder overlooking Carlingford Lough at Rostrevor  – it’s quite a stone!  Supposedly the famous giant Finn McCool got into a fight with Ruscaire the Ice Giant. That’s what I was told as a child! This is supposed to be one of the boulders they threw at each other across the Lough.  Its called the Cloughmore Stone or as the locals call it ‘The Big Stone’.

I spent many a Saturday afternoon up at the Big Stone on family picnics.

That part of Rostrevor that overlooks Carlingford Lough is my idea of Narnia” ~ C.S. Lewis.
jps gallery cloughmore stone
jps gallery cloughmore stone
Cloughmore stone narnian trail

Our Meeting With Digory

Eventually, we headed back into East Belfast again. This time to the Holywood Arches and just wait till you see who we bumped into.

  No other than Digory!

The bronze sculpture depicts CS Lewis in 1919 as Digory Kirke from The Magicians Nephew opening the door of the wardrobe.

The artist Ross Wilson, states that the sculpture seeks to ‘capture the great ideas of sacrifice, redemption, victory and freedom for the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve’ that lie at the heart of The Chronicles of Narnia.

“The image of the man walking towards the wardrobe is a stylized heroic image of C. S. Lewis representing the searcher: an almost ‘everyman’ setting out to find Aslan. I hope it will be seen as a pointer as well, to show that sometimes the greatest things can be found in the unlikeliest of places, a wardrobe, a world beyond a wardrobe”.
The Searcher bronze sculpture of CS Lewis as Digory - Narnian trail
The Searcher Bronze sculpture
Likewise, I just had to sit on the chair!
CS Lewis memorial bronze sculpture Holywood Arches
Ross WilsonThe chair may be used as a vehicle of transport; as the viewer is seated on the bronze chair they travel through Lewis via imagination to Narnia”.
There are many inscriptions on the back of the wardrobe.
Back of CS Lewis Wardrobe Inscriptions
The Searcher bronze sculpture CS Lewis
CS Lewis memorial bronze sculpture Holywood Arches
A letter written by CS Lewis to Anne Walker aged 10.
CS Lewis Letter written to Anne Walker
CS Lewis The searcher bronze memorial quote
And amongst the monobloc paving are 4 large rectangles of granite in a square encasing the sculpture  (you can just about see them in the collage photos above in light grey). Each one of the granite blocs has one of the 4 lines engraved:
  • The Searcher Centenary Sculpture
  • CS “Jack” Lewis – Ulsterman
  • Writer, Scholar, Teacher, Christian
  • Born 1898, Reborn 1931

Narnian Trail – Wall Murals

As you can see this post is lacking flowers today but there still is a lot of colour to the next bit of the trail….
Further on down the road from here just off the Newtownards Road are some wall murals.  Belfast is very famous for its wall murals. But today instead of there being paramilitary propaganda, hooded gunmen and riffles painted on the walls in Dee Street and Convention Place there are these in memory of CS Lewis. However not all paramilitary propaganda has gone from the area. Frankly, it never will.
CS Lewis Narnia mural East Belfast - Narnian trail
Dee Street Mural Belfast CS Lewis Narnia
Narnian trail - Convention Place Mural Belfast CS Lewis Lion the witch and the wardrobe Narnia
A Narnian Trail

Little Lea

Since I started writing this article I have kindly been given permission to show you these photos. I will eventually be adding them to part 1. But in the meantime, Mr Richard James who took the photos was given a private tour of Little Lea with his son in law.
He took a photo of the front of Little Lea and inside the little room where Jack and Warren played. And where they had their telescope.
CS Lewis Little Lea collage Circular Road, Belmont, Belfast
A Narnian Trail leads to Little Lea
Do any of you know which day CS Lewis died on? – well you’ll never forget now! President JF Kennedy was assassinated on the same day –  November 22, 1963.  He died at The Kilns, Oxford, England.
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Photography Tutor and Gardener

Rosie is a garden photographer, writer and nature lover. She enjoys soaking up nature and is easily distracted from doing the weeding by anything that flutters, flies, buzzes, creeps or crawls! She enjoys sharing the beauty of creation through her photography. Rosie has been featured on TV on BBC2's The Beechgrove Garden and she uses the outdoors as her natural light studio. Her work can be seen at one of Scotland's only photography galleries - Close Gallery, 4b Howe Street, Edinburgh.

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26 Responses

  1. Kimberly

    Rosie, I really enjoyed this post, as I did your last one. I love CS Lewis, Narnia, and all the stories. It's fun to see the various places and attractions. Thank you so much for the tour! PS – awesome video, too!

  2. Curbstone Valley Farm

    What a lovely and informative post Rosie. The Cloughmore Stone really is quite remarkable, it had to have been hurled by a giant, there simply couldn't be any other explanation! I love the sculpture. Sitting on the chair is one thing, but didn't you just want to step through wardrobe, to see what's on the other side?

  3. fairegarden

    Hi Rosie, this is simply marvelous! Thanks for showing us the giant rocks, the sculpture and the murals, with so much helpful info about them. I love the myths of your land and the Narnia stories, now they are even more alive thanks to your post. 🙂

  4. noel

    Aloha rosie,

    wow that photo of the cloughmore stone in the twightlight timeframe does feels like a real scene from Narnia…great capture.

    i love that bronze with the wardrobe and the funny girl sitting down on that chair…oh thats you right?

  5. Floridagirl

    Oh, Rosie, those stone formations are wonderful! I can see how they inspire tales of giants. You live in a fascinating, magical part of the world. How great to be able to experience the inspiration behind C.S. Lewis's literary genius! I wonder why they did not film the movies there. Hmmm…

  6. Carol

    What a treat for insomnia! Love this man's genius and have wonderful memories of reading his books to my son. Terrific post Rosie.

  7. Noelle

    Hi Rosie,

    Oh, I wish I had been able to go with you!!!

    It is easy to see where he got many of his inspirations from the beautiful countryside. The stone table is so impressive.

    Thank you also for the mention of my post. I was thinking of creating a new one with his church in Oxford and his grave that I took pictures of. I will link back to your post if that is okay 🙂

  8. Gail

    Thank you for sharing~The stone monoliths are marvelous and the Cloughmore Stone is incredible…Giant tossed stones! gail

  9. Meredith

    Wow, Rosie, I feel like I've just seen the real Stone Table. 🙂 I'll have to send the link to this post to my sister; we were both Narnia addicts as children (and I even reread the whole series a few years back — good writing has no age limit!)

    The countryside there is absolutely stunning. Of course, when I read the books I was envisioning everything based on what I knew of forests and fields here in North America, and this is one of the great successes of Lewis' books, I believe, that they may be nearly universally applied with a little imagination. 🙂

  10. April Lorier

    Like Noelle, I wish I had been able to go with you on this fantastic trip! And I'm particularly happy that Caroline featured you on her Card Blog!

    Part I and Part II should be submitted for an award, Rosie. They are both sure-fire winners!

    Blessings, my friend! April

  11. maiaT

    Very interesting post Rosie, thanks for sharing. I like those giant stones too.
    Have a great weekend!

  12. DoanLegacy

    What a wonderful and informative post, Rosie..I enjoy the video and your photos very much! It must be a great experience to be there.

  13. Andrea

    Hi Rosie, those are wonderful posts, you send us the evidences of old. If you will read the books of Secharia Sitchin, you will see the truth behind the peopling of the earth, to substantiate the psalm you posted from the Old Testament. It is not fiction. BTW, the lady on the chair is lovely. May she be fully blessed!

  14. Gardening in a Sandbox

    Thank you for taking us along on your trip. I saw Belfast only in the dark on the way to the airport. I do remember my two trips on the ferry across the Irish Sea. One was a calm day and one was a hairy ride in a fierce gale. Valerie

  15. Vee

    Oh how fantastic to see these pictures and to read your post. I enjoyed immensely. As a C.S. Lewis fan, I find it all immensely interesting. And I know a few others as well and will send them along, too.

  16. leavesnbloom

    Thanks everyone for the lovely comments – these Narnia posts sure have been quite popular – and thankyou all for the messages saying that you will link back to this blog with your own articles. Yhat is much appreciated.

    I will try and get over to all your blogs tommorrow.

  17. ellen b.

    Oh this post is so fabulous! We love C.S. Lewis at our house and Tolkien and Dorothy Sayers…When we were in Oxford we had to visit the Bird and Baby (Eagle and Child) We walked the walk that Tolkien and Lewis walked and hunted down other haunts. It is our goal to visit Ireland sometime before we die and I'll have to make some notes …

  18. eileeninmd

    Wonderful post and I enjoyed the tour and your great photos. I would love to see it all someday myself.

  19. Pix Muse

    Vee told me of your post. It is very lovely.

    Gentle hugs,
    "Pix Muse" blog
    "Autumn burned brightly, a running flame through the mountains, a torch flung to the trees." ~~Faith Baldwin

  20. Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti

    I visited Belfast, Ireland this past spring and had afew blog posts about it. It was athrill to see the area where CS Lewis was born and the Wardrobe Statue in East Belfast! I enjoyed your posts about CS Lewis very much!