Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea

Posted by The Skibbereen Eagle | January 7, 2016 0

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As Percy French described in his famous song the mountains of Mourne really do sweep down to the sea. The Mourne Mountains are one of the most spectacular locations on the island of Ireland… and here’s the proof. ‘Beyond The Wall’, is QUB architecture student and photographer Ryan Simpson’s first timelapse project. Its title refers to the 22-mile-long Mourne Wall which traverses 15 different summits in the Co. Down range in Northern Ireland. parnells-bridge-in-tollymore-forest-park-01

This short film is about crossing over that wall and into the unfolding landscape that’s inspired myth and fairytale – not least Belfast born writer C.S Lewis’s ‘Chronicles Of Narnia’ – says Ryan. “Recorded between July and December 2015, it is made up of 29 individual clips, all of which capture some of my favourite views in various moods across this mountain landscape,” he adds.

See more of Ryan’s work at https://vimeo.com/rynoimage

The video brought back memories of happy days going up for the Mourne Wall Walk which follows the remarkable 22 mile Mourne Wall, which was built by the Belfast Water Board early in the 20th Century to enclose the catchment area the Silent Valley Reservoir which supplies Belfast. The Mournes are a beautiful, gentle set of mountains ideal for walking. The do indeed seep down to the sea and as the song also says can look dark depending on the light. they look equally beautiful whether views from the storied Cooley Peninsula in the Republic, the costal route by Rostrevor and Newcastle or from the other worldly Silent Valley Reservoir or Tollymore Forest Park in the heart of the Mournes.   mourne1

The lyrics to the song “The Mountains of Mourne” were written by Irish musician Percy French. It is normally sung to the traditional Irish folk tune Carrigdonn.  The song is representative of French’s many works concerning the Irish diaspora. The song is a whimsical look at the styles, attitudes and fashions of late nineteenth century London as seen from the point of view of an Irish labourer from a village near the Mountains of Mourne. It is written as if the singer is sending a message to his true love back home. The “sweep down to the sea” refrain was inspired by the view of the mountains from Skerries in north County Dublin.

It contrasts the artificial attractions of the city with the more natural beauty of his homeland. Look at Ryan Simpson’s video and listen to Percy French’s whimsical ballad sung by the great Don McLean and be transported to one of the loveliest parts of Ireland.

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In 1898, to widespread bemusement, a small Provincial Newspaper in an equally small town in the South West corner of Ireland sonorously warned the Czar of Russia that it knew what he was up to and he should be careful how he proceeded for “The Skibbereen Eagle” was wise to his game and in future would be keeping its eye on him! It is doubtful that Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias, even noticed the Eagle’s admonitions but as history soon proved he should have paid closer attention to the Eagle’s insightful opinions!

Today, powered by its readers and contributors, from its cyber eyries in Ireland and the centres of the Irish Diaspora The Eagle casts its Cold Eye on Life and Death and much in between.
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