In recognition of St. Patrick’s Day and C.S. Lewis’s Irish heritage, in today’s post, we’ll briefly explore the land which inspired Jack’s creation of Narnia. The following excerpt which includes quotes from Lewis was taken from an article in the UK’s weekly newspaper The Observer.
If you didn’t find Narnia in your own wardrobe, you might just find it in Northern Ireland, the birthplace of CS Lewis and beloved inspiration for the author's fictional land….
When Disney scoured the world looking for a location to play Narnia's mythical landscape, they chose New Zealand's fantastical soaring mountains and sun-scorched grassy plains. It would have pleased CS Lewis, Narnia's creator, but it wouldn't have resonated with his love of ‘Northernness.’ For Lewis the portal into Narnia was far closer to home - Ulster.
“I have seen landscapes, notably in the Mourne Mountains and southwards which under a particular light made me feel that at any moment a giant might raise his head over the next ridge,” he wrote in his essay On Stories. While living in England he spoke of the magic of Northern Ireland: “I yearn to see County Down in the snow, one almost expects to see a march of dwarfs dashing past. How I long to break into a world where such things were true.”
And in a letter to his brother, he confided explicitly: “That part of Rostrevor which overlooks Carlingford Lough is my idea of Narnia.”
While he loved the countryside, in a letter to his best friend Arthur Greeves, Lewis confessed that he was less fond of the people. “The country is very beautiful and if only I could deport the Ulstermen and fill their land with a populace of my own choosing, I should ask for no better place to live in.” This, argue some experts, is what he did when creating Narnia.
Northern Ireland: If you didn’t find Narnia in your own wardrobe… This article appeared on p2 of the Observer Escape section of the Observer on Sunday 4 December 2005. It was published on guardian.co.uk at 18.38 GMT on Sunday 4 December 2005.