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Retired nurse's poignant ode to deserted Giant's Causeway


Inspired: Lynda Tissington

Inspired: Lynda Tissington

Inspired: Lynda Tissington

A retired nurse on lockdown in Co Antrim has taken to writing poetry to shine a light on one of Northern Ireland's best known tourist attractions, which now lies deserted.

Manchester-born Lynda Tissington (82), who moved to Northern Ireland 60 years ago when her husband Jack helped build the M1, walks past the Giant's Causeway every day for her hour of exercise.

After finding the world-renowned beauty spot completely deserted the mother-of-four and grandmother-of-eight put pen to paper in verse to capture the eeriness and silence of the famous stones. "I have been locked down for eight weeks just because of my age," she says. "Although I am very fit, I go out for a walk every day and that's it.

"We have a system here in Bushmills, which is a wonderful community, where a lady gets me my shopping. My neighbours have all been very good if I needed anything.

"I walk along the coast, above where the Giant's Causeway is. I would know the stones well. When we have visitors we always take them there.

"I wrote the poem because the causeway is usually chock-a-block. There are tourist buses going up and down the roads. The big cruise ships bring bus loads of people down here. The paths are usually so busy, and there are far too many people at times."

But now Lynda is seeing things in a different light as there are so few people around. "I would walk along there, along the top looking down at the stones and it is so, so quiet. There isn't a soul around. It's quite eerie, but it is lovely. Usually when you're looking down there it is full of people.

"They look like little ants, walking all over the Giant's Causeway, climbing all over the stones and walking down to the bottom, the place they call the organ. It's such a lovely place, but it's even nicer now that it's gone all still and quiet and the flowers are all out on the paths going up there."

It was the stillness that inspired her to write the poem.

"I wrote the poem after being out for an hour and not seeing one other person. The path going up to the causeway was empty, as was the golf course and the beach.

"I was inspired by the causeway, I saw the main columns standing around like a gaggle of girls gossiping. And I had never seen them clearly like that before. I was just meandering about and it came to me. These are such strange times, hopefully people will be back on them again soon.

"I write little things from time to time, but I'm not a poet. I have nothing else to do, so I thought I'd do that. It's the first poem I have written.

Lynda says, like many people of her generation, she is trying to cope with the isolation of lockdown.

"I am an avid reader, I'm doing jigsaws and I like to walk every day," she says. "I miss the people, a lot of people my age miss the company.

She added: "It's a funny old time and it's hard to believe when you wake up in the morning it's happening and it's not going to go away for a long time."

Giant's Causeway - Silence of the Stones

Here we girls stand

Clustered together in our columns

Sunshine on our heads

Our feet in the sea…and silence!

No longer do people come

Clambering over us in their heavy boots

Screaming and shouting in many tongues

Poking and touching us in sometimes intimate places!

This is our respite, time to breathe

Time to smell the flowers...

But we've been here thousands of years

We're going nowhere

And in months to come we'll welcome you back

We'll all be refreshed and life will go on

We girls still standing tall in our columns.

Belfast Telegraph