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The Lewis Legacy-Issue 81, Summer 1999

The Mourne Mountains Original Article

by James O’Fee
The Mourne Mountains lie in the southern part of County Down, Northern
Ireland. The Carlingford Mountains are an outlier of the Mournes, separated
by the narrow fjord-like sea inlet, Carlingford Lough. The Carlingford
mountains lie in modern County Louth, in the Republic of Ireland. Once,
however, the area was the homeland of the Ulster hero Cuchullain and
belonged to the ‘Fifth’ (which meant ‘Province’) of Ulster.
The Mourne and Carlingford Mountains are an extension, reaching under the
Irish Sea, of the rock formation which makes up the Cumbrian Mountains, the
English Lake District, beloved of Wordsworth and other Lake poets. The
Hills of Donegal – which Lewis loved as well – are an extension of the
rocks which form the Scottish Highlands and the Scandinavian Shield. Lewis
got to know Donegal through Arthur Greeves, whose family had a holiday home
there.

In his essay “On Stories” in the collection Of Other Worlds, Lewis writes
“I have seen landscapes (notably in the Mourne Mountains) which, under a
particular light, make me feel that at any moment a giant might raise his
head over the next ridge.”

Dr J. T. ‘Ted’ or ‘Joey’ Lewis lived in Newcastle, Co Down, at the foot of
the Mournes. Dr Lewis was a first cousin and good friend of Albert Lewis,
father of C.S. Dr Lewis’s daughter, Joan Murphy, tells me that C.S. &
Warren Lewis would visit the family every couple of years in the 1930s.

Mrs Alice Moore lived at 53 Bayview Terrace, Kilkeel. Lewis wrote a letter
to Arthur Greeves from Bayview Terrace when he was probably there on
holiday with Janie and Maureen Moore. (Alice later moved to Oxford to stay
with the Moores and Lewises.)

Frank Henry and Arthur Greeves were the two men who drove C. S. Lewis
around the country during his visits to Ireland. Frank Henry told me in
December 1997 that C. S. Lewis’s two favourite spots to visit were the
Mournes and the “Causeway Coast” (on the North Coast of Ulster, around the
Giant’s Causeway).