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Back to the Future - Ireland


Thirty-five years ago I lived in Northern Ireland in a little town by the sea called Bangor. It was in County Down where, as the old Irish song says, ‘the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea’. Thirty-five years later, in June 2007, I’m back…

Today’s Ireland is the same, only different. In Bangor, there’s a glitzy new marina, In Belfast 1.2 billion pounds sterling is being spent on the old dockland area alone, where the Titanic was built and launched. The dazzling greens of the meadows dscn2962-small.JPGare still there, the non-stop talking, the music and the fun are all still there, but the new Ireland is also big business. After the Peace Process was finalised earlier this year, Northern Ireland has become a magnet for foreign investment. If you’ve a bit of money to spend, buy a Belfast docklands apartment - now. Dublin is still full of Eastern Europeans - there are Slavs, Croatians, Bulgarians, Romanians everywhere, as are their food shops and delicatessens. dscn3063-small.JPGOn one night alone in one of Dublin’s most famous pubs and eateries, only one waitress was from Ireland. The other dozen from all over Europe. Ireland is pricey, but great value, particularly the food, fom the “Ulster Fries’ in the north, to the ‘boxty’ in the south.

And then there are the haunted castles, dscn2961-small.JPG the prehistoric burial places, the old battlefields like the Boyne River and the new - the Shanklin Road and the Falls Road, Derry’s Bogside.  Once modern battlegrounds of dscn2973-small.JPGthe ‘Troubles’, they’re now tourist destinations.

But whatever your background, Ireland is on most people’s travel wishlist - and you won’t be disappointed. So it rains a lot, but then there are rainbows…

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Kate Turkington is one of South Africa’s best-known broadcasters, travellers and travel writers.

Her weekly Sunday night three-hour live Talk Radio 702 / CapeTalk talkshow, Believe It Or Not, which came to an end in early 2013 was South Africa’s longest-running radio talkshow with the same host in the same time slot. She continues to broadcast as a regular guest on travel shows where she talks about the when, where, why, what and how of travel both locally and internationally from her vast personal experience. She also blogs for several travel websites.

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