Train of thought
Sir, – Frank McNally’s Irishman’s Diary is a dependable delight as I make my way through the paper, but I must take issue with his supposition that the Belfast-Dublin railway line has not received its artistic due apart from Van Morrison’s Madame George (“Train of Thought – Frank McNally on riding the rails with Paul Theroux and Van Morrison”, November 20th).
Poets certainly rode those tracks. There is Louis MacNeice’s Train to Dublin from the 1930s, in which he moves away from toasts to the king and into the southern landscape. John Montague calls a section of The Rough Field (1972) The Enterprise, using the service’s postwar marketing name in a description of crossing the high bridge over the Boyne at Drogheda. And in The Flight Path (1996), Seamus Heaney recalls a confrontational encounter he had with another Morrison (Danny, not Van) on the train to Belfast. – Yours, etc,