It was July 2015 and we were living in Belfast from some months when we went to search for the statue dedicated to C. S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia. The writer is celebrated, a bit hiddenly, with a pretty special monument in the quarter where he was born: the bronze statue “The Searcher”, that can be found in a little square in front of the Holywood Arches Library. At the time, unluckily, the landscape was a wall of construction works in progress and this ruined a bit my visit; anyhow, I fell in love with the magic subject: C. S. Lewis is potrayed as Digory Kirke, the owner of the enchanted wardrobe through which you can go to the fantastic land of Narnia.
Now, after a year and a half, the works have ended, revealing an incredible surprise: last 22nd November, during the annual C. S. Lewis Festival, at the back of Lewis’ statue has been inaugurated a new area dedicated to his most famous book, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe“. A path links “The Searcher” to the Eastside Visitor Centre, and walking through it we find a square for events and initatives but also a lovely little garden/Narnia forest with 7 brand new bronze statues portraying some of the main characters and places of the book.
The magic of our trip to Narnia starts from the map: this is the one I got from the library:
The path starts from the statue “The Searcher“, in the middle of a little square on Holywood Road. Here it is, directly from my previous article:
Down in the path we meet the first character that Lucy meets in the book: Mr. Tumnus, the kind faun living in the forest on the other side of the wardrobe.
Just few steps after, the atmosphere becomes a bit less friendly: waiting for us on the path there are Maugrim, the fearsome wolf who serves as the Chief of the Secret Police in Narnia, and no less than the White Witch herself!
Following the road, Mr. e Mrs. Beaver are waiting for us: they are the couple of beavers that take care of the little protagonists when they are in danger because of the White Witch.
Finally we find ourselves in front of Aslan, the mighty and brave lion protecting the enchanted land of Narnia with his army. Aslan is the symbol of the new C. S. Lewis Square and he rises, majestic and imperious, on a little hill on the square, chest out and eyes to the sky:
Walking around the square, created to host events especially for children, we find the Robin, that looks after the little ones as it does with the protagonists in Lewis’ book: he is the character that, when the four siblings are alone and lost in the forest, appears and leads them to the Beavers’ house.
The last sculpture of the Square is a main spot in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardobe”: the stone table on which Aslan is bounded, complete with its magical inscriptions.
And here, in front of the Eastside Visitor Centre, the new Narnia themed trail ends. Lewis’ stepson, the producer Douglas Gresham, attended the inauguration of the space on 22nd November 2016, and in that occasion he talked about how much his stepfather would have been happy to see this part of Belfast celebrated.
A little advice – Visit the square during a sunny day: it’s pretty beautiful to see the sun reflecting on Aslan’s statue.
C. S. Lewis Square
Upper Newtownards Rd,
Opening times: always open