Jon Kennedy
Jon Kennedy

Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
the Nanty Glo in My Mind

Ireland's northern coast and 'Northerness'


On Friday, October 15, we had a 1:30 p.m. appointment to meet a university professor and C.S. Lewis specialist and expert at the University of Ulster in Coleraine, the major city almost an hour's drive due north of Belfast and a few miles short of the northern coast.

Click the play button above to play on your computer's player or
click here to watch the video above on YouTube.

The professor is John Gillespie, seen and heard throughout the video above, who teaches literature and languages. Though I had expected we might sit for an hour and discuss Lewis over tea, he immediately suggested he take us for a tour of his favorite sites a few miles away, many of which were also favorite sites of C.S. Lewis and his brother Warnie from their early childhood, when they would spend much of the summer at a house overlooking the beach in Castle Rock. It was during this early-childhood introduction to the ocean and the "north" that Lewis is believed to have developed his affinity for or nostalgia for "northerness," the often bleak and always changing skies of the North Sea, which is seen throughout this, the longest of these trip videos. His "northerness" later came out in feelings of "joy" Lewis often experienced in his youth and which he came to believe became reborn and fulfilled in Christ when he found Him in faith at age 30. Professor Gillespie's suggestion could not have been more welcome and appreciated as the capstone of a tour of Lewis sites that had already been considered my favorite trip abroad ever.

Professor John Gillespie and webmaster Jon Kennedy on Ireland's North Sea coast.

After a few seconds of footage looking at the University of Ulster main building entrance where my hosts Ward and Marda Stothers and I met Prof. Gillespie, the video above goes directly to the first beach. Though the wind was constant while we were out that day and it is somewhat noisy on the video, the narration is fairly complete at identfying the towns and scenic overlooks seen on the tour. I had looked at the map of Northern Ireland and imagined the "north coast" as the end of the world, and was surprised that the resort towns here are just as beautiful and charming as any resort on the New Jersey coast so familiar to me in my own youth. Except that the Irish coast has additional features I love, cliffs and craggy outcroppings. But the architecture now as in the Victorian age when Lewis visited here, was at least as up to date and welcoming as my one-time home of Cape May.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Index of the tour posts


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Today's chuckle

A blond was speeding down the highway. All of a sudden she gets pulled over. The cop who pulled her over was also a blond... The cop says "Ma'am I need to see your drivers license ID." The driver was confused, so, the cop reminds her what an ID is. "Ma'am its a rectangular thing with your picture on it." The blond fumbled through her purse and pulled out a rectangular mirror and handed it to the cop. The blond cop says to the blonde driver, "Oh, sorry ma'am; if I had known you were a cop too, I wouldn't have pulled you over."

Thought for today

Whenever you find a man who says he does not believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later. He may break his promise to you, but if you try breaking one to him he will be complaining "It's not fair" before you can say Jack Robinson.

C. S. Lewis (1898 - 1963)

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Jon Kennedy's recent book, The Everything Guide to C.S. Lewis and Narnia, from Adams Media, F&W Publications, is available for purchase in support of the Liberty Museum in Nanty Glo and can be ordered here. It is also available on Amazon.

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