Thursday, 20 January 2011

With apologies ...

... to Eliot.
Sometimes you just need to see the sea!
 Here it is ... the view from Carrickfergus Castle.  "Seniors" gain access for £1.50 ... so, proudly flourishing my bus pass, I joined a few other people in the freezing cold enclosure.  A small gale was whistling through the arrow slits and I felt really sorry for the bride who had chosen this draughty location for her wedding photographs.  Dresses, veils and hair were blowing everywhere!  And the small boys were all over the place.  There might have been only three of them but the chance to explore a castle in their cute wee Oxford grey morning suits was impossible for them to resist.
All I wanted was a look at the sea and the ramparts provided an unbroken view with a tiny ship on the horizon.
 They call this figure "Gilbert the master gunner" and he sits frozen to the spot looking out over the harbour area.
You can't catch sight of him from street level ... but, make no mistake, he can see you!
Of all the pictures, with fantastic blue sky, this next photograph of the exterior is the 365Project one.  It really was a glorious afternoon.  
I'd been to the City Airport to leave off some friends and the car just decided that the M5 looked good for a run!  I like Carrick.  And it is close enough to get there in a very few minutes.
Somehow the castle feels smaller these days than it did when we were children running wild along the walls.  I'm not sure that there were quite so many safety rails and barriers in those days ... in a number of places now you can't get anywhere near the edge of the walls.  Probably a good thing ... but not nearly so scary!
 William III looks out over the harbour as you walk from the car park towards the castle.  It's a fine statue though the flowers on his tricorne hang over his face making a clear picture on a sunny day rather more difficult.
I did my best. 
 There are some shots from the western ramparts.  These cannon were found in 1951 although they date back to the seventeenth century.
 Lady Affreca sits gazing out towards her home on the Isle of Mann.   She became John do Courcy's wife shortly after his conquest in 1180.  She founded Grey Abbey in 1193 as a thanksgiving for her safe passage to Ireland in what was a particularly stormy crossing.
 The presence of models throughout the castle adds an interesting feature ... this fellow guards the Gatehouse.
There wasn't a lot of time to explore every corner and it was much too cold to hang around ... but Carrickfergus Castle provided just the right kind of diversion that one needs on a Day Off.  Now, however, I must turn my mind to tomorrow's school assembly talk ... maybe about castles and God being our sure defence in time of trouble and the rock on which our lives are secure.  There are enough references to this in the Psalms.  Wonder if I should put together a few pictures that might be displayed on the screen ... now, there's a thought!  This feels like the "bones" of a talk!

We have a strong city: 
salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.

Book of Common Prayer
Urbs Fortitudinis

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