Peace Camp is part of the London 2012 Festival, and is described as “A coastal installation celebrating love poetry and landscape“
It is happening from 19 – 22 July in 8 coastal venues in the UK. Here is N Ireland, although we are closer to the White Park Bay installation, I chose to go over to the Benone Strand event – I wanted to have the dramatic backdrop of the Mussenden Temple, and also as it happened at night, didn’t fancy that long wee lane down to White Park beach in the dark!
So my daughters and I headed off last night with cameras charged, tickets at the ready (it was free but there would be little wait if you booked a time slot), torches and a large flask of hot chocolate.
We, like most others attending, weren’t really sure what we were going to see and experience. It is still hard to put into words, so I will let my photos share the story.
This is the view from over the river, where we were parked, we then had to go back up under the railway bridge, and were led round over the small wooden foot bridge to the “installation”. It was quite an adventure!
In addition to the many illuminated tents, there was poetry being “broadcast” from inside the tents. I confess not to being very into poetry, and didn’t recognise any of the readings, but they certainly added to the atmosphere!
I loved the contrast of the twinkling lights of Portstewart in the distance, to the glowing tents on the beach and the iconic image of the Mussenden Temple.
The whole experience was very well organised. The site of the tents was the other side of the river than the main part, where we parked our car. There were plenty of security staff directing traffic and people.
As we managed to arrive just as the sun was setting, we were able to see the Mussenden Temple overlooking the site.
At one stage a boat sailed past for a look, and when the Coleraine to Derry train passed it sounded it’s horn loudly, which was a great contrast to the peaceful sound of the sea and the poetry.
I was surprised by the crowds waiting to go in, but at no point did the tented area ever feel crowded.
The whole experience was a bit surreal, but certainly an event my daughters and I will always remember.
We probably spent an hour wandering around, and were thoroughly chilled by the time we go back to the car, where we sat sipping our hot chocolate, watching the lights of Donegal twinkling across the lough.
So there you have it – I am not sure my words or images do the experience justice!