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Winter snow blankets Mourne landscape that inspired Narnia as magical CS Lewis square opens in Belfast

By Sopphie Inge

Published 22/11/2016

Sunrise from the summit of Slieve Bearnagh in the Mourne Mountains evokes the wintry settings of CS Lewis’s Narnia, the land he based on the Co Down mountain range
Sunrise from the summit of Slieve Bearnagh in the Mourne Mountains evokes the wintry settings of CS Lewis’s Narnia, the land he based on the Co Down mountain range
A wardrobe sculpture celebrating his most famous book
CS Lewis

A magical space dedicated to one of Belfast's most famous authors is set to open tonight.

CS Lewis Square - the latest phase of the £40m Connswater Greenway regeneration project - will mark the life and work of the writer, who spent his early childhood in east Belfast.

Located at the intersection of the Connswater and Comber Greenways, the £2.5m square will feature seven sculptures created by Irish artist Maurice Harron based on characters from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Three hundred trees have also been planted around the square, which has a capacity to hold 2,000 people, and there will also be new railway tracks, arches, paths, street furniture and facade art around the development.

The seven sculptures - including Aslan, Maugrim, Mr and Mrs Beaver, the Robin, the White Witch, the Stone Table and Mr Tumnus - will be unveiled at tonight's launch party, where the author's stepson Douglas Gresham will formally open the square.

Mr Gresham said: "I am delighted to be back in Belfast again, particularly to celebrate the opening of CS Lewis Square.

"The last time I was here was back in 1998 when another now famous Belfast man, Keith Getty, and I put together a special show to celebrate my stepfather's centenary.

"This is a wonderful city, and it's a thrill that Jack (as he preferred to be called) is being honoured in this way.

"The sculptures are terrific. I am sure that this square will be a great boost to Belfast, his childhood home which he so dearly loved."

The launch is at 6pm and will be compered by east Belfast actor Dan Gordon and will feature a host of local performers.

They include the dance group Ajendance performing the Dance of the White Witch, filmed under the H&W cranes, and local flute players performing the Waterboys' Further Up Further In, filmed at the waterfall at Cregagh Glen.

Seven short films will also be shown as the sculptures are unveiled to bring them to life.

To conclude the event, a snow machine will transform the magical space into a winter wonderland as Aslan is revealed to the public.

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