’This is the land of stiles and streams, little gateways to new beginnings and it has been calling me home from Belfast city for years’
A line from the opening chapter in ‘Mountain Notes’ by Maggie Doyle which was released just before Christmas 2021. Maggie returned home to her family farm in the townland of Dechomet in the Dromara Hills in the Autumn of 2019. She had taken early retirement from BBC NI where she worked as a radio producer and manager for over thirty years, and began an MA in Creative Writing at Queen’s University in Belfast.
Maggie kept a diary from January-December 2020 of events on the farm where she and her husband Dr Linley Hamilton had plans to run a small music club. The book documents the early days of the club before the Covid-19 pandemic brought restrictions on live performances around the world.
Like so many people in lockdown, Maggie and Linley went walking regularly in their local landscape and this book is an affectionate and lyrical memoir of their re-connection with the natural world and the re-imagining of the farm as a place where music grows. The book features many photographs taken by Maggie of the local landscape.
The book has been positively reviewed by readers ….’Totally
delightful’ ….’a balm for the soul’ …..’a thing of beauty - it speaks
to our souls’
…’a memorable and musical book of nature and of place’ …..’Its
themes of belonging, community and nature sing off the page’.
The book costs £10 with proceeds going to thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk
It is available at the following local bookshops; No Alibis in
Belfast, Bridge Books in Dromore, Painted Earth in Newcastle, Blue Beans
Crafts in Castlewellan, North Down Museum, The Turnip House in Leitrim and The Bee House in Bangor.