Perched on a precipitous coastal outcrop of rock in North Antrim, between the towns of Portrush and Bushmills stands the ruin of Dunluce Castle. It served as a place of sanctuary for many in the past, but for none more able than Sorley Boy McDonnell, c1505 – 1590; a Scoto-Irish Chieftain in Elizabethan times. A few miles to the east of the Castle is the Giant’s Causeway, renowned for its unusual hexagonal rock formations, which gave rise to legends of Giants and mighty deeds.
CASTLE AND CAUSEWAY
Against an ancient Fortress the north winds blow,
From a mighty ocean where curling currents flow;
A legacy still standing from our bloody past,
Defenders of Dunluce long gone, walls built to last.
Here McQuillan, O’Neill and Mc Donnell all wrought,
Facing newcomers and each other fought;
All now to remain is a grand roofless ruin,
Above the wild sea where its kitchen is strewn.
That is story that has to be told,
Banquet Hall laid for the brave and the bold;
“Where is the food?” the Chieftain did cry,
“This ale in my belly uneasy doth lie”.
Unbeknown to all that bellicose throng,
Indulging their stature in saga and song;
Food, kitchen and cooks, had fell to the sea,
As rock of the cliff became loose and free.
This disaster was witnessed, legend now says,
Through the eyes of a Tinker from the byways;
Whilst gnawing a bone, on a window nook sill,
Saw all disappear as he had his fill.
Place of enchantment to seek and explore,
Room of the fairies, cavern to the sea floor;
The breeze that sweeps and keeps that room clean,
Is Maev Roe’s spritely spirit, there and unseen.
The magma when cooled left a monument high,
Hexagonal rocks reaching up to the sky;
A home for the Giants who roamed this north shore,
Not forgotten but gone and spoke of in yore.
Aeons of time in spewed and built stone,
Recording a history and belligerence sown;
Bringing me here, to where I now stand,
On Nature’s great sculpture, rugged and grand.
Monty Alexander 6.8.98