The C. S. Lewis Trail is a path around the environs of East Belfast, and beyond that to Crawfordsburn, which takes the walker and/or driver around the major sites associated with C. S. Lewis in Northern Ireland. Maps of the C. S. Lewis Trail may be obtained from St. Mark's Church, Dundela. Click here for more info: C. S. Lewis & St. Mark's Church.
I have been "on the trail" on three occasions: by myself in 2002, with my wife in 2003, and with my children in 2004. The photos above are from my visit in 2002. Clockwise from top left are photos of: The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn; the blue plaque at Lewis's birthplace, a view of Belfast, the childhood home of Arthur Greeves (no longer standing), Campbell College (the boys' school Lewis attended for a brief time, the C. S. Lewis sculpture by Ross Wilson in Strandtown, the sign near Dundela Flats (where Lewis was born).
My wife and I especially enjoyed our stay at the Old Inn, Crawfordsburn, where Lewis often stayed on vacation and where he honeymooned with his wife, Joy Davidman Gresham. The Old Inn is truly the oldest inn in Ireland, thatched roof and all. They have some simply exquisite rooms with four-poster beds and enchanting views of the village. The Inn also has award-winning cuisine. It must be pretty good since George Bush, Sr., stayed there some time ago. One can take a leisurely stroll from the Inn through Crawfordsburn Country Park and down to the beach along Belfast Lough. From there one can look across the water to the location of Carrickfergus Castle (definitely worth a visit in and of itself).
On the visit with my children they especially enjoyed seeing the C. S. Lewis sculpture; who wouldn't be fascinated with wardrobes after reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? My children also enjoyed seeing the inside of St. Mark's with it's grand baptismal font, lovely Lewis window and impressive hammer-beam vaulted ceiling.
All in all Belfast and its environs is well worth a visit to anyone on a "C. S. Lewis pilgrimage" and the Old Inn, Crawfordsburn, is definitely the place to stay on a romantic weekend for two. Of course, if you have the family in tow, you might try what we did, camping along the Antrim Coast. More on that in a future blog. . . .