independent

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Subtle landscape a magnet for Irish writers

Published 06/11/2012 | 17:57

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HE WAS born 50 miles away in Castlerea, Roscommon, but John Waters says he doesn't feel "like a tourist" in Sligo.

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His father came from Mount Edward, near Grange.

"I love Sligo, not so much the town, which is functional and pleasant but the countryside which is the most evocative and inspiring to be found anywhere in the country," Waters said.

Despite his father being a native of North Sligo, ' The Irish Times' columnist, former editor of Magill magazine, author, playwright and Eurovision Song Contest entrant, said the family never went there until they were adults. John said: "I'm not sure why. "Perhaps he couldn't bear to go back to such a beautiful place, having been forced to leave it.

"In any event, I spend a lot of time there nowadays, perhaps to make up for all the times he missed."

Waters has a house in Lislary near Maugherow.

He describes Maugherow as being actually a tiny village on a hill to the west, with a church, a school and a scatter of houses, which he can see from his window.

He said: "It always strikes me as being like a village you'd see in a Western, starring John Wayne."

"Maugherow, is perhaps both the wildest and the most subtle landscape, a strange collision of farmland and wilderness, seeming to exist on the very extremity of civilisation."

John thinks this is why the area is destined to be a magnet for artists and writers, as well as surfers.

He said: "I think the appeal is that people can find a place that seems to be as Ireland once was, just before we remember it.

"Ben Bulben, of course, presides over it all, gazing across the fields upon us, with its benign countenance, which seems to have been bequeathed the spirit of Yeats and renders the whole thing poetic without a word being spoken."

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