Sunset in Coleraine


The Coleraine chapter of my life began in 1990.  It lasted over 18 years, before I left in 2008 for pastures new.  Work back then involved travelling, each day, at all hours of the day and night, the 26 miles to Ballymena (and 26 back).

The beautiful North Coast is only a couple of miles above Coleraine. Indeed, my very first memory is from nearby Portstewart. 

I was always captivated by this part of the world.  On a good summer day there is no better drive to be had, than an afternoon spent around the coastal road. I used to socialise each weekend up in Portrush and Portstewart.

So many memories – several imprinted forever.  Only yesterday, it seemed that life was all ahead of us. Where does the time go to. Uncle Stanley would always warn about how fast a lifetime goes. “It went fast after I turned 20.  It seemed to fly all the harder after I turned 40” he would tell me.

Here’s an early 1900s view of Coleraine at sunset – accompanied by an old poem of the time.

river bann coleraine
Coleraine, Waterside, looking across the Bann Bridge to Western skies

SUNSET

Sunset in the western sky,
Evening shadows fall.
And the shadows of closing day
Creep over all.

Sunset in the western sky,
Weary ones seek rest;
The bird on wing since morning light
Flies home to its nest.

Sunset in the western sky,
And call to me,
Spirits bright on yonder shore,
Call across life’s sea.

Sunset in the western sky.
To Zion’s hill I rise,
Far above the golden west —
Even to Paradise.

John ‘Bannwater’
Coleraine, 1928

Trudger

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

5 thoughts on “Sunset in Coleraine

  1. This view of Coleraine is so reminiscent for me, imprinted from the walk from CAI boarding school into town. On Friday and Saturday afternoons, we were allowed into town, to stock up with tuck, and even to see the High School girls in their bottle-green uniforms. On Sundays, twice to church. We elected to be ‘prods’ in the morning, and ‘C of I’ in the evening, the services being shorter. The Catholic service was ever shorter, but we weren’t allowed to be so radical.
    The wide straight central street and the Diamond are clues to when Coleraine was expanded as a central regional town. Originally, the main road back from the bridge, continued straight up Captain Street. What is now the main road, Castlerock Road, was built to the new Model School, and the later Academical Institution.
    (By the way, the picture is a sunrise. Apart from the eastern orientation, note the bloody crows in the sky!)

    1. C of I are prods too, Barry. Mind you, I wouldn’t blame you if you snored through the services. Although come to think of it, sleeping wouldn’t be easy – because we COI’s are up and down, more times than kangeroos in mating season.

      And birds fly at sunset too. They don’t have a union meeting and down tools after 5 oclock, refusing work unless it’s double time. 🙂 Plus, that’s west out there (the river flows northwards, from left to right, towards the ocean near Portstewart). I lived a few yards to the left of this view (on far side of the river).

      Yes, similar memories. I recall those bottle green-green uniformed Coleraine High School gals too in the town.

      You are right – so many grey days in that part of the world – and drizzle.

  2. I forgot to add, while I think the picture is of a sunrise, I don’t recall too many such mornings, grey and overcast would be the norm.

  3. Ah, I had a second look, you’re correct. I thought the ‘space’ in the background was the Diamond, but oon closer inspection it is Captain Street, you can see the courthouse. I remember Trainor’s sweet shop, or rather the daughter who had the same birthday as me. And the shirt factory shop round the back. Huey and Henderson’s were a sports shop and the school outfitters, on the town side.

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