I hope that you are all keeping well. If you are struggling, please turn off the fear box. Don’t let the tyrants, that rule this world, grind you down.
Re One Irish Rover. Many thanks for all your kind messages. Also, I am very grateful to those who have been sharing the website url on social media and with their friends. The website visitor numbers in recent months have been through the roof. It is a delight to see so many new people, from all corners of the globe.
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.
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.
Friday 16 November 1928