We finished packing this morning and while the kids packed I settled with Sarah. We had a nice chat about our Derry visit and life before peace in this area. She told me that she used to be nervous when she’d visit the area during the Troubles. She is from England and Feeny is mainly Catholic. She agrees with me that it is going to take a lot of work on both sides if the peace is going to last.
I spent a few moments writing a comment in the comment book of Roe Loft. I’d read some of the comments by guests that came before us, and found some of them moving. It’s hard to think of what to say in a guest book, but I managed to thank Sarah and Chris for their hospitality and tell them how special their home was.
Then we said goodbye to Drumcovitt House. Clare ran around taking photographs of the house and dogs while we waited in the car, setting up the GPS to get us to Dublin by way of Belfast where I wanted to stop and see the CS Lewis statue and Little Lea, the house where Lewis lived as a child.
The drive to Belfast was unremarkable. We were all tired and perhaps a little glad to be heading home. Well, Andrew was not glad since he had wrestling camp to go to a few days later.
When we got to Belfast it took a while to locate the two landmarks we were seeking. We nearly gave up on the statue — Dean seemed very uncomfortable driving in the city. We drove around for a while, then found the road where Little Lea was located. Dean parked the car and we walked past the house and back again to the car, snapping two photos of the house. Because it is a private residence, I was a little shy about loitering for very long. I remembered reading about Little Lea in Lewis’ Surprised by Joy. The house is supposed to be what he based Professor Kirke’s house on in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
After seeing Little Lea, we drove around some more and eventually found the library where the C. S. Lewis Centenary Statue is located. We drove around for a while, then finally found a parking space but then we couldn’t find the statue. We drove around some more and then, because I’d already seen the statue as we passed and was about to give up on getting to actually touch it, when we saw that we could park behind the library. Whew!
I remember when this statue was dedicated — the year Lewis would have been 100 years old had he still been alive. I was on the now defunct Mere Lewis list at the time and heard about it there. I never expected to see the statue in person because, after all, it was in war-torn Northern Ireland. Or so I believed, not having heard the news about the peace agreement. (I think I should read the news more often).
Anyway, we took some photos of the statue, Clare and I even posed in the chair in front of the statue.
After the Lewis stops we drove towards Dublin on the biggest road we’d seen since we got to Ireland. We stopped for a picnic lunch in a dingy and depressing town of Newry.
We checked into our hotel, the Ardmore, and had a little rest. Then Dean and I had a drink at the bar while the kids stayed in the rooms watching television. After that we all went down to the bar for a decent and long dinner.
We’re staying in tonight although Dublin is not far away. I guess we are all travel weary.