Posts Tagged ‘northern ireland’

A visit to the Spelga dam, County Down, Northern Ireland

Monday, April 8th, 2019

Visiting St Patrick in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland: 17th March 2019

Saturday, March 30th, 2019

On Sunday 17th March 2019, there was only once place to go. Downpatrick in County Down where history says he is buried by where the cathedral now stands. They had a parade and festivities.

Visiting Annalong harbour, County Down, Northern Ireland

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

The rather beautiful harbour at Annalong boasts a beautiful stone quay and also an old cornmill. And the town has several well-regarded restaurants.

Looking across the border to the Republic of Ireland

Monday, March 18th, 2019

To many, if not most, British politicians, indeed to most people who live in the United Kingdom, the border that crosses the of Ireland is just an idea. To some it’s irrelevant and just doesn’t matter. It’s basically just a complex political problem.

But is also real. And I’m spending some time in Northern Ireland this year, and I can see it from my digs. It’s out there, somewhere in Carlingford Lough.


Question Time: Good News from Ulster

Monday, December 15th, 2008

question time 2Finally, I managed to catch Question Time last week. It came from the Northern Irish city of Newry in County Down. Newry is a charming place set in a wondrous, sadly underrated, landscape. Close to my heart, it’s from Newry and thereabouts that my mum and her family come from and I spent a lot of happy time there as a child. I have so many fond memories of an amazing place and friendly people.

Northern Ireland is a beautiful part of these islands and yet so firmly associated with only one thing in the popular consciousness. It’s very unfair nowadays that the ‘the troubles‘ (a superb and yet also annoying euphemism) still loom so large still. Frankly, you’re at more risk of danger on a Saturday night at chucking out time in just about any town or city you can think of these days than you are from terrorism in Northern Ireland.

And what has this got to do with Question Time? Everything. It didn’t have the fun of Tony Benn or Ken Clarke but it really showed how much the political landscape has changed in the past decade or so. Sinn Fein, DUP and SDLP members joshed and battled as they should but with generosity and great humour. There was some rather touching teasing between opponents too that might previously have been thought unthinkable. It reminded me that there’s nothing in the water in those six counties of Ulster* that make Northern Ireland that means the residents don’t share the impish sense of humour that the Irish are rightly famous for.

There were only a few references to ‘the troubles’ and that’s great. It was business as usual. When the talk is about education, health and social security and not bombs, I’m happy. We’ve come so far and it feels so good. Let’s never go back.

*Yup, I know Ulster has nine counties. But as I say, only six make up Northern Ireland. And just because I didn’t mention that, doesn’t mean I don’t know it.