This land is my land — 2 Comments

  1. A lovely image.

    I don’t think Irish people belittle the English landscape out of malice but more from what they are used too. When I lived in the UK, and ventured out of London, the thing that struck me was the sheer distances one had to travel to see a mountain. And while people I knew would wax lyrical about the Ridgeway landscape around Wantage or the expanses of Norfolk I would be lifting my eyes to see a mountain. A bit like when returning from Dublin on the M9 and you take that weird veer towards Mt Leinster you know you are almost home. Oddly you don’t see any going to Dublin. But when you see Slievenamon, bingo.
    On the pretty towns argument. Yes, I would say many are very pretty in the south of England. This stems largely from having the benefit of being designed by the local magnet sometime after 1700. And here in Ireland when this occurred like in Westport, Bantry, Strokestown, Doneraile and Maynooth there’s a tedious similarity that makes one suspect they all came off the one plan with adjustments only for geography. But in general Ireland’s villages and towns are as a result of a Marcher social structure.
    One of the things I can’t fathom about your area is how, given the number of Roman Villas south of you, Alfred managed to exist on Athelney behind on what amounted to an island or series of islands cut off behind miles of marches and open water. Which remained so, in some cases, until the 1960s.
    Have a good trip.

  2. The visual impact also owes much to the wealth of former times. The prosperous medieval towns and villages of southern France and Italy would put my home county in the shade. It is extraordinary to look at some of the pictures of some of the architecture of Renaissance Italy.

    We had a wonderful villa in our own parish, the mosaic floor from Low Ham being a centrepiece in the county museum. Alfred retreated deep into the levels, the floods of 2014 giving a clue as to how isolated his refuge might have been.

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