Tollymore Forest is a place that’s so special to me. When we were kids we didn’t get to go on foreign holidays. Sunday trips were a special treat. And we usually got as far as Tollymore, with a bottle of diluted orange, tayto crips and a box of ham sandwiches. But this was all we needed. It may not have been far from home, but we were altogether and we made it special with a little bit of imagination. And hungry from the walk, those sandwiches were a feast. The Hermitage was always a place of myth and magic for me. This man-made cave that seemed to reside over the flowing river, half-hidden by the giant ferns, became a fairy lord’s castle. It was our own private Narnia.
When I returned as an adult it seemed so much smaller but the memories were bigger. So when Heidi got in touch to tell me her and Ben were travelling from the states to get married there and wanted me to photograph it, obviously my answer was YES. Betty Williamson had perfectly placed flowers from Floral Earth and candles to add to the atmosphere. And if I had met Heidi as a child up there in that ethereal dress, I would have been convinced she was an elfen queen (that enjoys guinness).
All of County Down was shrouded in cloud and rain that day, but up there in the mournes above the cloud the sun shone through the trees for them and new memories were made.