We've Come a Long Way

Posted by Sarah

Published February 15, 2019

On 31st January 2019 Tourism NI marked the start of the official build up to the 148th Open at Royal Portrush with an original poem by local poet Paula Matthews, and narrated by leading actors Ian McElhinney, Bronagh Waugh, Saoirse-Monica Jackson and Shaun Blaney. It is accompanied by an original score composed and performed by Belfast-born virtuoso pianist Michael McHale. You can read Paula Matthew's poem below...

We've Come a Long Way Golfer

A new day dawns. So walk the course,         

you know the spot. Line up the shot,

drive through dark hedges

into the light.


Sunrise where giants make their home,                   

and castles half fallen in the sea,                           

emerge again in technicolour

for the whole world.


Past the home place of the laureate  

picking blackberries, peeling spuds,

digging deep into our culture,

and the craic’s great.


It’s like a wall around our city,                            

and we dance there, play music,

make bright and vivid murals,

 of our history.


These are the orchards that thrive,  

when the land has been growing,

in stone circles by mountains,

through all things.


Resilience. Like the persistence

of our athletes, who try, try

try again, bring it back, swing,

move it forwards,


To castles filled with marble arches  

hidden deep in caves on lakesides,

where you can connect with nature,

more than that.


Country estates, with old houses   

and older towers to explore,

museums by the plenty

near the boat tours.


Or you might find some fairies   

in the glen at picnic places.

Or try our chefs for size, food’s fresh,

land of plenty.


When St Patrick turns the stone,       

embrace the company of pilgrims,

first the holy hill, then the pub.

The tunes are mighty.


You know, we have the real Narnia,    

at the foot of our mountains sweeping    

down to the sea. Anyone can go there.

Not always winter.


In our cities, you might meet Aslan,   

roaring right beside a library. So we sit

down for tea and buns. But when we’re up,

we’re on the move.


The bright angles of new buildings   

shine in our shipyards now.

We’ve made a success of our story,

it hasn’t failed us.


We are straight-talking film makers,

set design by mother nature,    

giant stories, local theatres.

Creative business.


City of one hundred thousand poets,

we have words to power cranes,    

where ceramic fish meets silver angel.   

Famous river.


There’s nowhere else quite like it,

the grace of the landscape refreshes,

the warmth of the people renews.

Embrace a giant spirit.


Sometimes the spirit of the people

can be seen in one brave soul

who becomes a hero in the field,

not giving up.


We’ve come a long way, yet say nothing.

Under humble exteriors,

you’ll find somewhere amazing,

and be welcomed.


So join the gathering from all nations.

Watching on, the tension rises,

will the next shot take the glory?

The crowd grows silent.


Take the chance, address the ball,

deep breath in as summer rises,

Northern Ireland on royal courses.


You’ll go the distance, through rings of culture,

history, sports, successes,

you can almost taste the future coming.

It’s sinking in, we’ve come a long way.


Watch the ‘We’ve Come a Long Way’ short film by award winning director and producer Marty Stalker on our Youtube channel.


Posted by Sarah

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