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The Other Coney Island

Having just read about Coney Island (New York) over at  Alastair's Heart Monitor it brought back memories of an unforgettable journey Sue and I took in early 1998 to Coney Island. However this was not Coney Island New York but Coney Island County Down.

We had decided to take the ferry from Stranraer to Belfast and do a bit of touring around Ulster and perhaps venture in to the Republic of Ireland. To add interest we decided to re-trace the route in County Down described by Van Morrison in his narrative 'Coney Island'

Coney Island itself wasn't much to see. Indeed unless we were looking in the wrong place, you kind of blinked and missed it. If it hadn't been for a sign marking the spot we would have missed it. It wasn't an island and seemed to be just a few cottages.

However The points of interest and beauty along the way were fantastic.



Coming down from Downpatrick

Stopping off at St. Johns point

Out all day birdwatching
And the craic was good

Stopped off at Strangford Lough
Early in the morning
Drove through Shrigley taking pictures
And on to Killyleagh
Stopped off for sunday papers at the

Lecale district, just before Coney Island

On and on, over the hill to Ardglass
In the jamjar, autumn sunshine, magnificent              

And all shining through



Stop off at Ardglass for a couple of jars of

Mussels and some potted herrings in case

We get famished before dinner

On and on, over the hill and the craic is good

Heading towards Coney Island

I look at the side of your face as the sunlight comes
Streaming through the window in the autumn sunshine

And all the time going to Coney Island Im thinking,
Wouldn't it be great if it was like this all the time?







Coney Island

Van Morrison




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4 Responses

  1. Robert
    I've never been to either of the Coney Islands, but have long been entranced by both, from a distance.
    The Van Morrison song/musical poem is so good that it would make the places and landmarks interesting even if they're not very.

  2. Alastair,
    The only disappointment was Coney Island itself. Killyleagh and Ardglass were great. Killyleagh is a beautiful place with a historic castle and Ardglass is a fishing town/village. St. John's point offered great views of the Mourne Mountains. The countryside and Strangfod Lough were impressive too (This all reminds me to do a piece about the beauty of Loch Lomond which is ten minutes by car from where I sit)
    Also in County Down we went to Mount Stewart (yes the same name as the castle on the isle of Bute). The Mount Stewart in Co. Down was the seat of Lord Londonderry. The house and gardens are wonderful. There is also a beautiful little summer house nearby which the titled family used to chill out. It is quite enchantingly called the Temple of the Winds. I'm often simultaneously disturbed by the capitalist opulence and impressed by the beauty of such places.
    I have been in New York but due to time pressures never made it to the other Coney Island.

  3. “The only disappointment was Coney Island itself.”

    Funny you should say that, as the whole point of the song always seemed to me to be the journey. It’s not about arriving in Coney Island or being there or having been there, but going there.

    My husband and I plan to make the same drive soon which is how I found your post. Your observation will underscore for me the importance of not looking to Coney Island to be anything but the reason for the journey which, based on your pictures, seems as beautiful as Van’s song.

    So did you get any potted herrings? And hHow was the bird watching?

  4. Jenifer, We weren’t quite famished enough for the potted herrings, but yes you’re right the poem/song was about the journey and was beautifully simple and succinct.
    “Wouldn’t it be great if it was like this all the time?”

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