Following C.S. Lewis to the Giant’s Causeway

In my last post, I stayed in Belfast and followed where Lewis lived and went to school and the sculpture made in his honor a hundred years after his birth.  But, as we all know, Lewis did not stay in Belfast.  He went to Oxford and Cambridge.  Everyone knows to visit the Eagle and Child pub when they go to Oxford to see where not only Lewis, but also Tolkien, sat down for a pint and a good literary critique.

But that’s not where I looked next for Lewis myself.  I was in Northern Ireland and there was still a pretty amazing place to see that had once captured Lewis’s imagination.

Dunluce Castle sits on the edge of a cliff facing out over the Irish Sea.  It is harsh, remote, and grand, even in its current ruined state.  This is the castle that inspired Lewis when he created Cair Paravel.

If you remember, the castle is right on the sea in the books.  The four Pevensies rule there during the Golden Age of Narnia, and they also return there when summoned by Prince Caspian.  Upon their return, the castle is an overgrown ruin, almost unrecognizable, but it still rests on the cliffs with its stunning view of the sea.

Visiting Dunluce was incredible for me, of course, because it was the first castle I’d seen in Ireland and had the added benefit of being this world’s Cair Paravel.  Lewis truly had a wonderful homeland to draw his inspiration from.

But I also wonder if the cliffs on which the castle sits did not give Lewis even more cause to invent and create in his literary world.  The jagged, almost hexagonal shaped jutting cliffs that rise up far above the water are called The Giant’s Causeway.  They have a legend attached to them that they were created by the hero Finn MacCumhaill back when heroes were taller and stronger and brasher and prone to feats of unbelievable daring.

On these cliffs, you can believe not only in magical kingdoms, but in giants walking across cold, empty northlands. If you remember The Silver Chair, you might wonder if this was the place that came to mind as Lewis wrote his giant’s territory of Harfang.

Not New Zealand: these are some of the mountains found in the Highlands.

I suppose that worlds like Middle Earth seem like they should be filmed in the most dramatic of locations, a place like New Zealand where the mountains and hills and plains are as grand as you could possibly find in this world.  However, I do think that the Narnia series could easily have been filmed in the land that cultivated and nourished it for Lewis.  Traveling through the hills of Ireland, the highlands of Scotland, and even riding the train through the English countryside down to London have all brought Narnia to mind.  Maybe that’s just me, but I feel quite confident Lewis would have agreed.

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About Melissa

generally in love with things Celtic, mythological, fantastic, sharp and pointy, cute and fuzzy, intellectual, snarky, cheerful, or some combination thereof. Such things as sarcastic bunnies wielding claymores might come to mind...

Posted on January 11, 2012, in Art, Authors, Books, C. S. Lewis, Fantasy, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Lantern Hollow Press Authors, Melissa Rogers, Narnia, Photography, Prince Caspian, Scotland, The Chronicles of Narnia, Travel, Universes, World Creation and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. All photographs are amazing.

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