Celtic Crossings

More photos of my 1992 travels, as I near the finishing line of this particular Detail project. After a year of study I was joined by my parents and travelled with them around Britain and Ireland, starting in Norfolk, driving across to Wales and the ferry to Ireland, around Ireland’s south and west, over to the Isle of Man, up through the Lakes to Glasgow and Scotland’s west, across to Inverness and Aberdeen, down to St Andrews, and then south through Durham, Chesterfield, Coventry, Warwick, Stratford, Oxford and London. I’ve already gathered up the English photos; here are the rest.

Ireland 1992

This was my first visit to Ireland, where after a year away from my home state of Tasmania I was struck by the physical and cultural similarities between the two. The houses reminded me of the midlands, the beaches and dunes reminded me of ours, and the people reminded me of my peers. I gained a love for white and black pudding, and for the Kerry coast. Because I had to fly back to England for a viva I missed seeing much of Dublin this time round; Newgrange had to wait another decade.

Isle of Man

From Dublin we caught the ferry to Douglas on the Isle of Man, where my father’s mother was born and raised. Because of that I was familiar with Manx stamps, coins and lore from childhood, especially after Nan had returned there for a visit in the mid-’70s, a decade before she died, and sent us souvenirs. The island’s landscape and ruins are similar to those of the other Celtic and Norse-influenced parts of Britain, but because of our family connection there was something special about seeing its flags with the three-legged triskelion, rehearsals at Tynwald, and Manx Loaghtan four-horned sheep (we didn’t see any tailless Manx cats). We saw the Loaghtan at a rural museum in Ramsey, where—best of all—we were served in the gift shop by a silver-haired old lady who looked and sounded uncannily like Nan.

Scotland 1992

From Mann we sailed to the Lake District and drove up to Glasgow, which we had skirted around in 1985. I took some photos that look prescient now that I’ve lived an hour away from it for twenty years: the Duke with a traffic cone on his head, Glasgow University, Kelvingrove, the Merchant City. Our next destinations in Scotland were also ones that I revisited in the 2000s: Argyll, Glencoe, Skye, Inverness. There were some stops that I haven’t been back to since, though, as well as my best photos of Aberdeen, some fine ones of St Andrews, and some photos of places and moments throughout that are as good as or better than any I’ve managed since. We didn’t stop in Edinburgh on this trip, having stayed there in 1985, but instead drove from Fife straight through to Durham, for the second half of our English tour.

I’ve just remembered the ridiculous souvenir I bought at a tourist trap halfway down Loch Ness, which we visited as a side-trip on our way east from Ullapool: an extruded fake-bronze lump of artificial stone that cost a hefty £2.25 (I left the price on it as a reminder), a waste of money that I justified for its irony. It would probably be a fiver or more today. I thought I’d thrown it out in a purge last year, but it seems I couldn’t quite bring myself to.



6 August 2020 · Memory

Next up: America, baby.

Added by Rory on 6 August 2020.