As a resident of Northern Ireland I have the privilege of having access to a huge amount of local and interesting history and all parts of the provence are within a 2 1/2 hr drive from my home.
I recently ventured to the North Coast, Kinbane Castle to be exact and, having been warned about the steep descent along concrete steps, down I went anyway; knowing the steep ascent back to the car park would burn my legs and torture my lungs.
I knew I would be in trouble as soon as I started down; but the enticing view of the castle combined with my trusty Canon EOS 650D, was enough to override my caution and I had already decided the end price would be worth the experience.
Perched on an outcrop of rock and mostly in ruins, I was already seeing the Black and White photos begging to be taken. The deep blue sky with vivid white clouds and low angle would make a wonderfully striking image of a once striking structure.
I could sense the history of the castle as I got closer and closer. I could almost see the people who built, lived and died in this castle…over 400 years ago. I could easily see their hard labour and toil taking place. The sounds of happy children once laughing and playing was whispered by the wind as it blew across my ears.
Inside the remains of the Keep, I had no idea how the former residents accessed the level above; the only remaining evidence are the familiar large square holes where the wooden joists once stretched across the void to create rooms above. I couldn’t see any recesses or protruding foundations that would indicate the presence of a stone staircase.
Looking around the remains of the courtyard, I wondered about the lives of the people who once walked upon the same earth on which I now stood. I am a visitor to their home…and in some cases I am sure I walked upon the same ground where they also bled and died. That realisation triggers a deep sense of respect in my heart.
But in other ways these memories of history live on. Their descendants walk the land which has remained the same. I’ve no doubt that I have spoken or seen them during my many visits to the North Coast.
I also took away a degree of comfort and familiarity with these locals, whose names history has long forgotten, when I think that they looked across the water and observed Rathlin Island. The same sun and wind and rain strikes my face that also warmed, blew and soaked these Irish Ancestors.