Friday, 10 September 2021
A bit of Irish 'bookspiration'
I’m not long back from a trip that was perfect book inspiration - or ‘bookspiration’ as I’ve come to call it. It was a jolly away for another wedding (congrats again, Dave & Karen), but one that felt more of a getaway and adventure.
Staying just outside of Cookstown in Mid Ulster, Northern Ireland, we didn't fully realise the fortune of our choice, and the beauty of the location we chose to stay in while looking and booking online. Over the road was Drum Manor Forest Park, a beautiful, well, park that is a forest. And while it is in one part clearly a designed landscape and park - carefully thought out routes and paths, designed waterfalls, species of trees planted together with identification labels, etc - it also remains in antoher part the former expansive gardens and grounds of the Manor. A sort of hybrid landscape. The manor is now derelict and has seen its interior totally changed from a home, to a now a walled garden (pics below). It feels like something straight out of Dragon Age or Skyrim, where a garden has slowly but surely reclaimed some old elven architecture. It’s these sorts of fictional yet magical, wild but beautiful, and atmospheric gardens and landscapes that really ooze a sense of place, and are ones I just can’t wait to explore deeper than ever in Genius Loci.
To reinforce the intrigue and interest I had while there, it was a great coincidence that I’d just finished playing through the first expansion for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, The Wrath of the Druids, which is entirely set in about half of the island of Ireland. The rugged, intensely green imagining of the Irish landscape in the game, and the story’s inclusion of the Druid’s and their nature-l and landscape-leaning myths, legends, and mystery, was the perfect in-game mirroring for my trip there in real life.
On to firm, book-only updates, I should be appearing on some video game level design podcasts soon which is going to be great fun, and some of the best opportunities to speak passionately about Genius Loci, and to help ensure it racks up the support and backers it needs to happen. Look out for them and listen and share when they do come out!