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- 24.07.07 / 3pm
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 are 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. On 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, 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 the ‘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…