Chronicles of Narnia author CS Lewis wrote about a tale of two counties on a visit to Co Donegal, it has emerged.
A lost collection of 11 letters found in an attic in England by the son of one of Lewis’s friends Captain Bernard Acworth have been given to Queen’s University in his native Belfast.
“The letters were written to my father between the years 1944 and 1960 and he kept them and when he died they were just left in the loft really and I went through his letters much later and found them there,” said his son Rev Richard Acworth.
“They contain insights into various aspects of Lewis’ private life, including when he married his wife at her bedside in hospital as she was dying of cancer and she seemed to make a miraculous recovery,” he said.
“He also talks of visiting Donegal, describing the scenery in North Donegal as ’lovely’ and South Donegal as having a ’sinister character’.”
Rev Acworth said his father, who founded the Evolution Protest Movement in the 1930s, and Lewis became quite close after he originally wrote to the author on the issue of creation.
“I don’t know how they first met,” he said.
“They began by discussing the subject of evolution and they became quite close friends. My father quite often stayed with him in Oxford and the later letters are more sort of chatty than the earlier ones.”
He said the letters suggest that Lewis’s view that evolution and Christianity were compatible began to change later in his life.
“My father was a convinced Christian, as was CS Lewis,” said Rev Acworth.
“My father had a particular view: he was strongly opposed to the teaching of evolution of being certainly true and the full explanation of things and he got in touch with CS Lewis about this.
“Originally Lewis was more or less agnostic on that subject but it seems in the course of the correspondence he gradually became much more of my father’s way of thinking.”
Rev Acworth said Queen’s seemed a natural home for the letters, especially as his daughter Phyllida studied English there in the 1990s.
She accompanied her father to Belfast for the handover.