“I have seen landscapes...which, under a particular light, made me feel that at any moment a giant might raise his head over the next ridge. CS Lewis
A quote from world-renowned author CS Lewis, thought to be from his time spent in Co Louth, where his extensive views of the Mourne Mountains provided him with inspiration for his many successful books.
Last week, local author Paul Clayton-Lea was joined by 92-year old Eileen McLean in launching his book 'C.S.Lewis and the 'Wee' County , surrounded by family and friends in large attendance at the Glyde Inn, Annagassan.
Eileen read a poem from the book which was written specially for her by the world-famous author when she was just 16 years old in 1946.
The book details the many previously unexplored connections between C.S.Lewis, Salterstown and Annagassan as well as Drogheda and its surroundings.
"I was a big fan of his books when I was a child, and later on, I recall seeing Annagassan on one of his letters, and I thought, what was he doing there?”, says Fr Paul with a laugh. “I knew he had visited Drogheda, when his brother was being cared for by the MMMs, but I hadn’t realised he spent every summer between 1947 and 1962 in a series of railway carriages, which were given the name ‘The Golden Arrow’; a guesthouse in Salterstown, which was run by a woman called Vera Henry, the niece of my guest Eileen McClean Filgate.
“Lewis described it as ‘this place of unearthly beauty’.
In fact, the author believes that Lewis's longstanding links with Co. Louth had a special influence on his life and writings and particularly his famous 'Chronicles of Narnia.'
“I was able to gather some great stories of his time here for the book, with some wonderful local photographs from a library in America, help from the MMMs, and also access to his diaries,” adds Paul, whose brother Tony Clayton-Lea is also a renowned journalist.
"I’m hoping this little book will make some of his biographers finally put Co Louth in his life and acknowledge the time he spent here and even more importantly the impact it had, as I believe his inspiration for the landscape in Narnia is from his view out over the Blue Mountain at Annagassan.
"He described his idea of Narnia as being Carlingford and South Down and brought his wife there when she was dying.”
There will be a further book signing in Aclint Hall, Reaghstown, Ardee, Co. Louth on Sunday 9th October at 3.30pm. The book costs €10 and is also available from Veritas, or directly from the author postage free at firstname.lastname@example.org.