Poem – County Antrim

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That old chestnut, email.  Sorry, I am behind once more.  Must get into it again, this new week. 

Ok, onto this weekend’s article. Last autumn, I cleaned up an old photo from the North coast (long since in the public domain), enhanced and then colourised it.  It is of the Madman’s Window at Glenarm in County Antrim. It was probably taken in around 1900.

It ties in well with an old poem from the late 1920s.  A Glasgow man, by the name of Smylie, submitted some prose to a local Ulster newspaper, describing a trip along this wonderful coastline.

Madman's Window at Glenarm in County Antrim
Madman’s Window at Glenarm in County Antrim

County Antrim

Let others boast of foreign lands,
Give me Antrim’s hills and plains,
Whose scenery so inspiring grand
My memory still retains.

From Lough Neagh’s bank’s to Carnlough’s shore.
From Portrush to Belfast,
The tourist here will find his fill
Of interest that will last.

If fond of nature, wild and grand,
The whole coast charms the eye,
With mountain top and sylvan glen,
Blue sea and sunny sky.

By Belfast — Whitehead — Blackhead’s mound.
Or Cavehill’s grim old crest,
Our fancy captured, held in spell
When ‘Moyle’ is at her best.

By Gobbans cliffs we stand entranced,
Those grim and wave-washed walls,
And picture many bygone scenes
Which history oft recalls.

Then on to Larne along the coast.
What beauteous sights are there?
Until beside the Curran shore
We rest mid all that’s fair.

Again that wonderful coast road
Is like a ‘fairy ground,
Whose limestone cliffs and shining sea
No lovelier could be found.

There art and nature hand in hand
Hath joined with wondrous skill,
And formed a charming landscape
In ocean, road and lull.

We break the spell and hasten
By hamlet and by farm
Till round the bend we come upon
That old world town Glenarm.

Then on, still on, we take our way
By hill and shingly shore,
To Carnlough’s lovely esplanade
Where gleaming wavelets pour.

Tho’ fain to stay time will not wait,
We take the road once more,
By Garron Point’s majestic front
And “Clough a Stoohan” roar.

Glenariff Glen then comes in view,
That wide and smiling vale,
With river, mead and waterfall
So sheltered from the gale.

From Waterfoot to Cushendall,
What panoramic views,
Of mountains high and valleys wide
And woods and ocean blue.

To Cushendun our wondering leads,
To Ballycastle Bay,
With Knocklayd towering over all
By ruins old and gray.

Carrick-a-reed and Greyman’s Path,
Where chasm spanning high;
The rope bridge seems so insecure
Swinging ’tween sea and sky.

By Torr and Fairhead towering grand,
By Bengore rising steep,
The famous Causeway comes in view
Where past convulsions sleep.

There storied old Dunluce we see
Stand out in lonely state,
Where once arm’d hosts were wont to meet
In fierce combat and hate.

Portrush is soon upon our way,
Upon the Atlantic shore,
Where health and pleasure can be found
’Mid calm or ocean’s roar.

Ramore rears up its noble head
And time-worm breast to tide;
Grim and unchanged the years roll on
Where myriad sea fowls hide.

When Sol is sinking in the west
What glories can be seen.
Of golden cloud and gleaming sea
In gay and wonderous sheen.

Portstewart is next that grand old shore,
A visit will repay,
Where health and pleasure may be found
Mid scenes the live long day.

Now, if you wish to test the truth
Of this poor doggerel rhyme,
Go visit all the places named,
Unsurpassed in any clime.

H. Smylie, Glasgow.

Ballymena Observer
Friday 16 November 1928

Madman's Window at Glenarm in County Antrim
Madman’s Window at Glenarm in County Antrim


"I have spread my dreams beneath your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."

2 thoughts on “Poem – County Antrim

  1. Now that took a bit of reading Trudger. A lot of work gone into that and someone’s thoughts brought back to life.

    I remember as a five year old, on holiday with my Granny, my mum, and sister. We were at the family roots in Swatragh, but on a visit to Lough Neagh for the day. My sister and I were on the shore of Lough Neagh and I disturbed a wasps nest. All hell broke loose as wasps surrounded my sister and I. Granny and my mum came running, waving towels at the wasps and dragging us away from the shore. The fun of childhood.

  2. Loved that poem. Although, must admit couldn’t read it to my husband of 56 years. You see, he’s an Englishman and by the time I would’ve explained it we would both be tearing our hair out!

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