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Phespirit goes to Northern Ireland
Belfast     July 2010

AROUND NORTHERN IRELAND

Map of Northern Ireland

1 Belfast

Phespirit went walkabouts in West Belfast on a Sunday when the shops were closed and the streets deserted. What people he saw were mostly congregated in pub doorways: hard-looking men with close cropped hair and ruddy faces, seeing out their exile until the butts of their cigarettes had been ground underfoot.

As he wandered alongside the rows of shuttered shops, he felt he was passing a higher than average number of taxi offices, beauty salons, funeral parlours, and political/community group premises. If there was a common theme there, Phespirit failed to spot it.

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2 Carrickfergus

Phespirit stopped here for ten minutes to snap some photographs of small, boxy, yet very solid Carrickfergus castle and the harbour next to which it stands.

Pretty much every regional army has either defended or beseiged it at some time. Phespirit just skirted its perimeter.

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3 Cranlough

Cranlough is a pleasant coastal village with a picturesque harbour and a modest selection of small shops. When Phespirit visited, a mist was hanging over the sea, and kids with wetsuits and rubber rings were merrily jumping from the quayside into the water.

The scene was disturbed only by the terrible easy-listening music that the locals see fit to pipe out along the main road. Insanity.

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4 Carrick-A-Rede

After paying £4.90 plus 50p gift aid to the National Trust, Phespirit descended the coastal footpath to the Carrick-A-Rede ropebridge. Tourists come here to test their nerve in walking across the bridge from the mainland clifftop to a small rocky island a short distance offshore. In practice, however, the wooden footway of the bridge is about two feet wide and, whilst the whole structure wobbles a bit, it is unquestionably safe and sturdy.

Only those with severe vertigo need not apply.

Phespirit crossed to enjoy the sea air and the fine views.

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5 Giant's Causeway

Phespirit's primary motive for travelling to Northern Ireland was the prospect of visiting the Giant's Causeway. Together with scores of other tourists he spent a couple of hours clambering on the smart tangle of basalt columns. He also took time out to walk along the footpath that arcs around the cliffs behind them.

This is a true wonder of nature, best experienced first-hand.

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  1. Belfast
  2. Carrickfergus
  3. Cranlough
  4. Carrick-A-Rede
  5. Giant's Causeway
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images 1
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Belfast Carrickfergus Cranlough Carrick-A-Rede Giant's Causeway