Once [Tolkien] spoke to me of Ireland after he had spent part of a summer vacation working there as an examiner:
'It is as if the earth there is cursed. It exudes an evil that is held in check only by Christian practice and the power of prayer.'
[For Tolkien,] Even the soil, the earth, played a part in the cosmic struggle between forces of good and evil.
George Sayer - from Recollections of JRR Tolkien, in Tolkien: a celebration (ed Joseph Pearce), 1999.
Wednesday 11th June 1947:
...I am off on my Irish adventure...
Monday 30th June 1947:
I have been in very deep waters since [June 12th].
It all began with the feng shui of the cottage, which was more and more immediately wrong than that of almost any place I have ever struck in these latitudes, and though I told myself it was all nonsense, great waves of depression began to overwhelm me from the very first: added to which the practical difficulties were almost insuperable - an inefficient oil stove, and water had to be fetched from a farm well over a mile away.
But it was the eerie greyness that killed me, or rather drove me to the drink that did in fact very nearly [kill] me: for the artless Irishman spins out his exiguous supply of gin by mixing it with methylated spirit, and it was to this I turned unwittingly for consolation.
Brothers and Friends: the diaries of Major Warren Hamilton Lewis [C.S Lewis's elder brother, 1982