A Belfast Diary

We have been back from our trip to Belfast for a couple of weeks now, and alert readers will have already seen a short piece on a walk to the Black Mountain with its wonderful views out across the city and beyond. More on that in a moment. We had a week in Belfast, four years after our last visit – which itself came after a string of annual, autumnal trips that all seem to blend together in the memory. So it is hard to remember exactly when, during the period of 2005-2008 that we went on the walking tour up the Falls Road, explored the murals of West Belfast, wandered amongst the chaos of the Halloween celebrations in Derry, or got out of town to a windswept and beautiful stretch of the Donegal coast…

But that was then. This year we were in town during the festival, which occupied our evening and allowed us to reacquaint ourselves with our friends at No Alibis books, close to the university. We seemed to spend most of our time around Queen’s, walking there from my dad’s house through the Ormeau Park, taking our time in the Botanic Garden or in the terraced streets around. We did escape the city on the Sunday, driving out to Strangford Lough and a house on the island, where we watched football beamed across the Irish Sea and then walked in the ever encroaching dusk to the remains of a monastery that looked out across the water and the fields.

It was after we had returned to Berlin that my dad told me on the telephone about the passing of Terry Enright. I never met Terry, although we proudly carry his words on Under a Grey Sky through his poem Requiem for a Sycamore that he graciously gave us permission to publish earlier in the year, based on those hills I finally got the chance to climb on this visit. It is terribly sad news, and our thoughts are with Terry’s family and friends. I would like to end this post with a quote from Kevin, who commented beneath Terry’s poem earlier this week:

“A beautiful poem by Terry Enright, he will be sadly missed just like Terry og who I had the pleasure of hiking in the Mournes with before his untimely death. Two great people gone but not forgotten. Both played active roles in our community and tried their best in difficult times.”

Words: Paul Scraton & Kevin Lennon
Pictures: Katrin Schönig

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