February’s arrival signals that we have made it through the worst of seasonal austerity but judging by the cold spells to date we still need to wrap up. However, if you are lucky you will have spotted your first daffodil or bulbs sprouting from the ground signifying a great hibernation coming to a close. Of course, love is also on the horizon and we are all starting to spot the hearts and cards in the shops opening up the perennial discussion on whether the 14th of February is a worthy festivity.
Our Irish Landmark Trust aspirations for 2017 are free to be harnessed by all potential cupids out there who feel that whisking a loved one off to an enchanting hideaway, researching poetry, re-discovering great Irish icons and assisting Irish Landmark Trust to do essential conservation work might help you to bring out the best in Valentine’s Day encapsulating your thoughtfulness and care. We like to think of Valentine’s Day in broad terms and would urge people to consider doing something spiritually nurturing, restorative or kind for themselves this year. On the theme of aspirations our property at Magherintemple Lodge in County Antrim, could fulfill all your needs.
Roger Casement is linked to Magherintemple Lodge. Yes, the Roger Casement of 1916 fame. If carrying out a lot of historic research in advance of your trip feels a bit too much, the journalist Rosie Schaap has documented a fascinating journey in her article ‘In Ireland, Chasing the Ghost of the Rebel Roger Casement’ which will give you a super introduction to this historic link. The article also offers an excellent case study on how to fuel a holiday around an historically significant personality.
Never been to the Giant’s Causeway?
The Giant’s Causeway is only a twenty-minute drive from Magherintemple Lodge and tends to be one of those places that many Irish people have not got around to experiencing. This place is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and suitable for every member of the family. Magherintemple Lodge is a super location to base yourself to finally take your long-awaited opportunity to visit.
Come by yourself! Or bring the kids! Or cross the The Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, which is less than a fifteen-minute drive down the road from Magherintemple Lodge.
At the Giant’s Causeway enjoy the aptly named rock formations such as Giant’s Boot, The Camel, Giant’s Granny and The Organ. When you reach The Wishing Chair find a quiet spot, sit, pause, and read. Our top choice for this location would be Squarings taken from Seamus Heaney’s book of poetry Seeing Things (1991).
When you sat, far-eyed and cold, in the basalt throne
Of ‘the wishing chair’ at Giant’s Causeway,
The small of your back made very solid sense.
Like a papoose at sap-time strapped to a maple tree,
You gathered force out of the world-tree’s hardness.
If you stretched your hand forth, things might turn to stone.
But you were only goose-fleshed skin and bone,
The rocks and wonder of the world were only
Lava crystallized, salts of the earth
The wishing chair gave a savour to, its kelp
And ozone freshening your outlook
Beyond the range you thought you’d settled for.