Ripping up St Patrick?

Extraordinary events in Downpatrick…

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  • SlugFest

    bloody eejits.

    What set them off? Was it something to do with the anniversary of the Easter Rising, a drunken rampage or a combination of both?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    SlugFest: “What set them off? Was it something to do with the anniversary of the Easter Rising, a drunken rampage or a combination of both? ”

    Was there a G-8 or IMF meeting in town? That’s usual M.O.

  • missfitz

    That never hit the news, and almost a week to hit the Telly?
    It sounds pretty newsworthy to me, I am quite surprised by the tardiness of the reporting

  • You need to tie this in with the tourist thread, Mick.

    Those flatlanders from Ohio probably will never be back. They are going to rag the hell out of the tour director over the several thousand bucks they spent to be mooned. The tour director will cross the place off his list until he is assured that the centre is cleared of toxic waste. If he loses money he will sure as hell bitch about it to his colleagues. They will be forewarned.

    Soon business drops off and St. Paddy joins Ard Macha in the Northern Ireland lineup of white elephants. A few more incidents and you will be back to the tourist state that generated the article I saw in a 1996 tourist magazine entitled “Northern Ireland Without A Flack Jacket”.

    Capitalism works, Sluggiepoos. Sometimes it works too well. It’s not OUR kids who’re going to be lying about your houses pissing away their dole money.

  • Yokel

    Jim..Jim Jim Jim…

    Capitalism does work alright….thats why Tourism Ireland and the Irish Tourist Board are having real issues hitting their targets for vistors South of the Border (main reasons? Mainly Dublin, its very capitalist looking, there are no thatch cottages anymore and its pricing itself out of the market…)

    The North on the other is doing better and better thank you very much, so I don’t think this incident is really gonna scare them all off…..and I’m glad that 1996 article didnt get wide circulation or else my Danger Tours business would have been losing a lot of revenue from hiring flack jackets. We hired them as it made them look pumped up like a steroidal loyalist paramiltary with wearing one under their shirts.

  • Shore Road Resident

    What’s most depressing about this is the powerlessness of every adult present to intervene for a full hour while adolescents went berserk – because, of course, anyone who laid a finger on them would be prosecuted for ‘assault’ while being loudly accused of molestation into the bargain.
    What price the rights of people confronted by children who “know their rights” to run riot?

  • missfitz

    Sorry to be so suspicious, but there was no word of this on the Down papers either.

    I am not doubting the report at all, just very confused as to how its coming out.

  • keystone cops

    I see the psni were as sharp as ever.

  • willis

    Well indeed

    Surely these quotes are worth a thread of their own.

    “The horrifying ordeal on Saturday afternoon is alleged to have lasted for an hour, despite telephone calls to the town’s police station – just five minutes’ walk away.”

    A police spokeswoman said it was “not a long time” before officers attended the scene.

    She said: “Police received a call at 5.11pm and arrived within the hour, just about, at 6.10pm. The youths had gone on police arrival.”

    You couldn’t make it up!

  • Donnacha

    I know what Shore Road Resident means, but who would have charged the adults with assault? Certainly not the PSNI, who were no doubt wrapping themselves around a mug of tea and another couple of hands of whist while it was happening. The best bit for me is the comment from the cops saying it only took them an hour to get there.

  • You only have to say the name once Yokel, I’m not Beetlejuice..

    The only thing suffering in Ireland is the West because EU is as myopic as the rest of the world since it sees Dublin = Ireland. The mass cancellations last year were because your local patriotic celebrations made late season travel a bit dicey and were just the icing on the cake.

    The reason that your assertion that northern tourist dollars are up is not the usual Ulster windup is that UP is the ONLY place for it to go. Eight years ago I had better accommodation in Appalachia on the road from Possum Trot to Monkey’s Eyebrow than in the Northern Ireland countryside. Christ, what a hole!

    I have visited the province eight times in as many years, usually after visiting the south. Northern facilities are, when affordable, fifties vintage. When not provincial, they are too damned expensive. Sometimes they are burned out!!

    They do make a good Martini in Crawfordsburn, though and through trial and error I have found some good people to stay with. It took work with no help from your tourist bureaus. Having Bord Failte operate and rate accomodation in the north would have made it so much simpler.

    Northern Ireland has no depth in tourist accommodation and services whatsoever unless you are in the middle of Derry or Belfast. One busfull of Germans on the Ards saturates the market.

    Then, if by some reason facilities are lined up, the tourist has to employ evasive maneuvers at flank speed to get past your goddamn random riots. I had to navigate a route only a crackhead would take to the Glens late last year.

    Adding insult to injury, the tourist has to change to different Monopoly Money when he crosses the border. Maybe that’s the grand design behind Bush’s reason for wanting to take over the world.

    It appeared that there was spending in place to facilitate the tourist industry as recent as three years ago but that went vanished after the election.

    Since you choose absolutely horrid politicians who are completely adverse to public service, why not think outside the box for once? Employ a couple of those rapacious taxi/tour drivers that work the crowds on Inishmore to rework your tourist environment. They’ll set you Gomers right in a millisecond.

  • “I have visited the province eight times in as many years”

    Make that nine times. The first time we took the train to Belfast from Dublin & stayed at Jury’s. That’s where I first had the Monopoly Money problem. I was surprised at the time because our money is good in the Canadian border provinces. I am no longer surprised.

    One lesson learned was that waiters on both sides of the border chase us all over the room with an ice bucket if we don’t show up with ice in our drinks. No Ketchup at the table, thank God.

    The other surprise was that my kid’s steel-toed boots set off the metal detectors in San Francisco and JFK but not at the airport at Belfast. Some security guys.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Jim: “The other surprise was that my kid’s steel-toed boots set off the metal detectors in San Francisco and JFK but not at the airport at Belfast. Some security guys. ”

    Hey, its a little uneven in the states, too, James…

    Hartford, CT — even in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, my tanker boots were just given a quick glance, despite setting off the detectors… State police and National Guard types hanging about, side arms only, very polite.

    Miami, FL — just a little more intense. National Guard only, usually in groups of four, automatic carbines… I recall an M-60 or SAW being toted by one fellow. Metal detectors dial so high the nails in my dress shoes were setting off the alarms.

  • pk in Chi USA

    I have been to DownPatrick and the north twice in the last two years. I would have given the visits to DownPatrick second thoughts if I had any hint that the recent events were possible. I certainly would not have knowingly gone into an area (with my elderly mother) if I had an understanding of the unreliability of policing, especially at one of the relatively few tourist sites of the north.

    Accomodations were limited in Armagh. The selections were few and expensive by US and Chicago measures. I did not find it to be an encouraging environment for tourism, even with my naivety regarding safety in public. Maybe I’ll check into flak jackets before I return.

  • Philadelphia

    I am contributing from Philadelphia. I generally agree with the comments posted from Chicago and San Fran. The north has a lot to offer but hotel accomodations are limited/over priced, and tourist revenue has nowhere else to go but up. Needless to say the random marching/riots in the summer months deters tourists.
    Just one quick experience as there were far too many to mention here: I went to a bank in Belfast (Forestside)and submitted US dollars to get Euro’s for the other parts of the island. The girl wanted to first change my dollars to British Pounds (for a fee), she was then going to change the Pounds into Euros for an additional fee. I thought that was a rip off so I took my money back and changed it in the south (where I then spent it). As a visitor I felt the financial institutions would not even facilitate a fair trade, they had it set up to suit themselves.
    Having two seperate currencies on one small island does not make good business sense. To cap it all, on a different day I did get a smaller amount of “British” money to spend in Belfast/Glens of Antrim. I had some left at the airport in London but an English driver on a tour bus would not accept it. I had difficulty getting your money and then difficulty spending it.
    Glens were great but Bushmills was adorned with paramilitary flags (specifically, purple ones which I think are UVF or UDA). This introduced a sinister element which certainly detracted from our visit and as a consequence we didn’t go to the distillery…we probably couldn’t have spent our money anyway 🙂

  • missfitz

    Oh lets all just rip into NI why dont we.

    Right. Currency for Philadelphia. If I went into a bank in New York and wanted to change Canadian dollars into euros, guess what? The bank changes the foreign currency (ie into canadian dollars) into local currency in order to transact an additional foreign currency change. I too have had trouble with currency, ALL OVER THE WORLD. You need to do your homework before you travel and make sure you know which beads which locals need for trading.

    Random parades and riots? Oh please, give me a break. Heres a website http://www.paradescommission.org that will give you a handy breakdown of parades. You could always take the shorthand version and avoid some of the inner city housing estates in mid July.

    I have lived in Northern Ireland for 14 years and have found it as safe and secure as anywhere else, arguably a little safer and a little more secure. People’s percaptions however are another thing.

    I remember once entertaining a large group of American journalists in a retaurant we had in Rostrevor. My son was playing inthe middle of the road, he was 4. The sun was beaming, people were sitting out on the street corners, and there was a lovely feel to the whole place. A reporter from the New York Times came over and said “Well, are you eally scared living here”? I thought he was kidding, but he wasnt. I pointed out the scenery and the view and the fact that my kids coudlnt have been unattended in New York. It didnt matter, as far as he was concerned, Northern Ireland was a dangerous place and thats the way it would stay.

    I have my doubts about the report, and it has only served to fuel this old nonsense about Northern Ireland.

    Having said all that, I came through the Mournes yesterday morning and was awestruck at how beautiful it was. I got out of the car at one point to just look at the mountains, the resevoir and bask in the serenity of it. Not a tourist about the place. Perhaps the myth should continue?

  • smcgiff

    “Police received a call at 5.11pm and arrived within the hour, just about, at 6.10pm. The youths had gone on police arrival.”

    *JAW DROPS*

  • maca

    “I have lived in Northern Ireland for 14 years and have found it as safe and secure as anywhere else”

    So you have lived in most other countries and can make such a comparison or ..?

    I don’t see how NI can be described as safe considering. I’d say ROI is safer, yet I think there are lot safer places than there.

  • Yokel

    Jim..Jim ..Jim Jim

    It may be crap, the only way may have been up but its still going UP and at this stage thats all that matters. Tourist related infrastructure will go with it because capitalism as you say works. It’s called development led by demand…

    The South on the other hand is having issues sustaining the growth it has had, thats not my view, its the view of the cross border body responsible for promoting tourism, main reasons given in earlier post. Now I’d suggest they know better than you with yer B&B out the back of your nice house with the flock wallpaper.

    I agree its terrible that people in the North do elect many useless politicians just as its a shame that the South elects some corrupt ones. I’m disgusted at many politicians in the North just as I’m sure you are disgusted by an elected government that gave its condolences to Germay on the death of Hitler…to roughly quote ‘they may be the son of bitches but they are our sons of bitches’…

    This post is good demostration why a United Ireland will never be all its cracked up to be because Northerners like myself ultimately like our little world and we won’t have none of yer Southern sophistcate crap,you won’t be dictatin to us sunshine! Poor mindset but there you have it..

  • missfitz

    Yeah Maca, I have lived in a lot of other countries.

    But I dont go for the anecdotal stuff, I like to look at crime figures, attitude surveys and other meaty things.

    We could sit here all day and swap shite stories about the time I got mugged in Dublin, or you got attacked in Berlin.

    2 things are important in this debate:

    1. Perception

    2. Fact

    The perception about NI is poor due to the toubles. The fact that a defacto end to all of the violence occurred 14 years appears to have escaped the attention of many commentators. It’s not the way we like our story.

    Last year, while I was attending what turned out to be a riot in Belfast, there was an entirely different scene unfolding in the same city. There was an outdoor concert attended by thousands who had a good night, oblivious to the touble in their city. Yet the stories carried on the next day focused on the riot, not the concert. Its not sexy to have peace and quiet, its sexier to have adrenalin rushes and riots.

    Most violence in the North is now confined to small working class spaces, and I would probably be able to argue that has happened on a global scale to some degree. I’ve seen it in many places, and the evidence is no doubt there also.

    The facts support the argument that NI is a relatively safe space, especially when compared to other countries. I have no doubt that one of the kind people will supply a link for me, as seems to happen so often by magic!

    I for one am about to head for Ballycastle with my 2 dogs. Its a beautiful day, the sun is sparkling off Carlingford Lough, and there is no where I would rather be.

  • Jo

    I think this thread demonstrates that there are some people who both visit here and live here who we could cheerfully do without.

    missfitz: Rostrevor again. 🙂 I saw and climbed over the Mourne Wall myself for the first time last weekend. Not a breath of air on Sat. afternoon and I gazed on Silent Valley “feeling wondrous and lit-up inside” as Ivan would put it. 🙂

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Missfitz: “I have lived in Northern Ireland for 14 years and have found it as safe and secure as anywhere else, arguably a little safer and a little more secure. People’s percaptions however are another thing. ”

    And how well did you do the first two to three weeks. How did you feel those two to three weeks? And just because its secure where you are doesn’t mean its all blue skies and toy airplanes everywhere else. Likewise, individual mileage will vary. The tourists probably didn’t get a heads-up on the parade site, since its probably something the Toursit bureau doesn’t want to point out — not good for business.

    As for the transaction of dollars to pounds to euros, wasn’t the whole damn point of a single currency was to get around this sort of sh*t? If its supposed to be the EU common currency, then its just a little shady to claim to be unable to make the transfer from dollars to euros. They’d have done better at the hotel desk, if there was a hotel to be had worth the time of day.

  • The Devil

    FANTASTIC

    BRILLIANT

    SUPERB

    WONDERFUL

    MAGNIFICANT

    STUNNINGLY FUNNY AND MADE MY YEAR

  • SlugFest

    Just a quick note to Americans & Canadians traveling to Belfast: the best place if you’re on a budget (30 pounds for a single) is Farset International Hostel. disregard its name, as it’s not a hostel at all, but more of a clean & ecomical motel. you have your own bathroom, they clean your room every day, etc. the staff is exceptionally friendly and helpful. i stayed their for five weeks straight a couple years back while doing research and they made me feel very, very welcome, which made a big difference as i was on my own.

    you may have seen farset pamphlets/literature in your travels to belfast — it’s the same organization — they’re big on cross-commnunity lectures, etc.

    it’s on the springfield road in west belfast right next door to the firehouse.

    http://www.farsetinternational.co.uk/

    as for the currency exchange, while i rarely travel over the border and usually only stay in the north, it’s only a big deal if you make it one: take out a set amount of money out of the atm, stick to the budget, allow a 20-euro (or pound) safety net, and you’re all set. then just repeat the process once you’re over the border.

  • missfitz

    Hi Jo
    Pretty fabulous, isnt it? I drove home through Hilltown this evening and the mountains were standing out in such fine detail, it took my breath away. As did my trip to Ballycastle, so f*** the begrudgers.

    Dread
    I was scared shitless, and worse than that, I didnt want to live in the North. Although I had spent some time in the South and in other parts of the world doing one thing and another, I was essentially an American girl with her eye on a house in Connecticut. I was breathlessly terrified about living in the North, with no prospect of a ceasefire at that time.

    In the first two years, I overcame black wreaths, death threats and having to escort our guests to dinner. We couldnt survive that kind of stricture on the business and it failed. We were faced with bankruptcy.

    So, it hasnt been easy, but once you get over those wee bits, it’s a grand place to live.

    People have to get over those perceptions, although I suspect sometimes they never will. My cousin was up from the south last weekend, and although we dandered up the Falls and down the Shankill, she remained nervous and fearful. None of it helped by my irrepresible need to photograph murals and flags no doubt!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Missfitz: “I was scared shitless, and worse than that, I didnt want to live in the North. Although I had spent some time in the South and in other parts of the world doing one thing and another, I was essentially an American girl with her eye on a house in Connecticut. I was breathlessly terrified about living in the North, with no prospect of a ceasefire at that time. ”

    Precisely… now, *THAT* is the level of experience the average tourist probably has, of coming to Belfast… well, maybe less than *THAT*, but you get my point… they know that its not exactly Disney World, bad things happen. Now, this troupe of tourists from Ohio, so far as the BT tells us, had those fears / expectations confirmed. The information has been moved from the abstract thought to direct experience. Somebody in the group will inevitiably blog it and it might become a seven day sensation in the states. A few bit like a kidney stone, this, too, shall pass.

    Missfitz: “People have to get over those perceptions, although I suspect sometimes they never will. ”

    Not when they are periodically reinforced in this fashion, they won’t…

    Missfitz: “My cousin was up from the south last weekend, and although we dandered up the Falls and down the Shankill, she remained nervous and fearful. None of it helped by my irrepresible need to photograph murals and flags no doubt! ”

    If they’re digital, I’m half tempted to ask you for copies… The murals, if not dying out, are slowly being politically corrected, from what I hear…

  • “If I went into a bank in New York and wanted to change Canadian dollars into euros”

    Fifteen yards for the old switcheroo, Fitzy.

    The point is NOT that it’s a hassle to change money in a bank.

    The point IS that it’s a royal pain in the ass for tourists when neighboring countries do not share currencies in the border areas.

    The point IS that I can pay for the Sunshine Breakfast en route on the Queen of New Westminster from Tsawwassen south of Vancouver to Duke Point on Vancouver Island with the Yankee Dollar.

    The point IS that I can pay for a fishing licence with the Yankee Dollar in Campbell River for @$#$%!!! Salmon that no longer exist .

    The point IS that I can use the same Yankee Dollar for dinner (and a double Martini that gets your head bent) at the Ceder Inn thirty miles beyond the back of beyond in Blind Channel on East Thurlow Island between Vancouver Island and the BC mainland.

    The point IS what every successful businessman knows, the more you adapt to your customer’s needs and desires, the more repeat business you get.

    The Canadian’s get it; that little fringe on the A2 between Muff and Derry gets it. The rest of Ulster doesn’t.

  • missfitz

    Well Smiling Jim, I guess we aint your little cup of tea, dear sweetness and light.

    What can I say. There was a border, we’re 2 different coutries with 2 different monetary systems. Impossible and unsurmountable.

    Just like it used to be in Europe, when they had Lira and Francs and Pesos and yokes like that. We all know now how much damage that did to the economy, and how little travel there was between countries. If in France, you would never venture to Spain as you had to stop at the border for 5 mintues and change your change.

    Oh wait, I did that all the time.

    Oh wait, there was always a queue 5 miles long as everyone else was changing theirs too.

    Point is, oh smiling one, it happens. It isnt convenient, and you’re right, some of the border areas have recognised the expediency of dual currency. Newry has been a dual currency area for some time now.

    I dunno, it isnt rocket science, and surely one could argue it enhances the reality of the trip, the excitement, the adventure….

    But the real points are the ones Dread makes. I meant to phone Downpatrick today, as I have seen or heard nothing about this fracas other than the report here on the site. I just wanted to hear a second opinion on it and confirm the story.

    But if it is true and the facts hold up, it was bloody awful. I have an inkling it was possibly less of a deal than reported, but should know something on Monday from the police on their response time.

    I take your point Dread, when your perception is faced down by the fact, it can be a very bad trip. Here these people thought they wer brave as heck, and got terrorised by a bunch of yobs. Really shameful, if its true.

    Doesnt seem to be hurting tourism though. Bushmills, Ballycastle, Giants Causeway… all bunged with busses and Yanks. (((shudder)))

  • Conor Gillespie

    Missfitz,
    “Although I had spent some time in the South and in other parts of the world doing one thing and another, I was essentially an American girl with her eye on a house in Connecticut.”

    Missfitz,
    “Doesnt seem to be hurting tourism though. Bushmills, Ballycastle, Giants Causeway… all bunged with busses and Yanks. (((shudder)))”

    WTF?

  • missfitz

    Wtf yourself?

    The longer you see americans on holiday, the less palatable they become. I’m sorry, but thats really true.

    There were German tourists in Ballyacastle, just hanging about on the pier, chatting, played with the dogs. When I got to Bushmills, you knew the Yanks had arrived. Green nylon trousers, out in the middle of the road, taking photos, just all over the place.

    Very nice people, dont get me wrong, but they make dreadful tourists

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Missfitz: “The longer you see americans on holiday, the less palatable they become. I’m sorry, but thats really true. ”

    Its not unique… guests are like fish… they both stink after three days.

  • Conor Gillespie

    The joke is that, even with their reputation abroad, every time I’ve been to the US I’ve found most Americans to be somewhat contemptuous of Tourists visiting their country! Have I just run into the wrong bunch or has anyone else had this experience?

  • missfitz

    No Conor, I think thats right. And Americans at home seem much more ‘normal’ than the ones you meet abroad. I’ve been back recently to Florida and the Mid West states, and there’s no big deal about being a tourist, in fact a little of the opposite. Lets see what Smiling Jim has to say about that.

    The exception was 2002. I was over in NY after the 911 attacks, and there was a strong sense, everywhere you went of being thanked for supporting them as it was seen then. I find that spirit has now dissipated and its back to normal!

    Dread, do you not like fish?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Missfitz: “Dread, do you not like fish?”

    Not especially… although there are a few exceptions.

  • SlugFest

    Conor Gillespie,

    Actually, we Americans like tourists plenty … it’s YOU we don’t like.

    🙂

  • Conor Gillespie

    Dread,
    “Its not unique… guests are like fish… they both stink after three days.”

    Have you ever had the fish over here in Derry? They stink the minute you buy them!

  • the queen

    unlike londonderry fish which no doubt smell fine

  • Conor Gillespie

    Well Missfitz, although things might have cooled down over the years around Ballycastle, the bad reputation we northerners get with tourists seems to be well justified: as you can see the sectarian line continues to divide the poor fish of the river Foyle! Tragic, but true ):

  • missfitz

    Nowt like folk conor

  • “Well Smiling Jim, I guess we aint your little cup of tea, dear sweetness and light.”

    Your namesakes were more concise.

    The phrase you are desperately searching for is yes, Smilin’ Jim, everything you said is true.

  • Jim..Jim ..Jim Jim

    Hey la de la the poltergeist is back. You were warned

    This post is good demostration why a United Ireland will never be all its cracked up to be because Northerners like myself ultimately like our little world and we won’t have none of yer Southern sophistcate crap,you won’t be dictatin to us sunshine! Poor mindset but there you have it..

    That Sinn Fein is trying to be a majority killer in the Dail (and by implication kingmaker) is proof to me that these very ruthless and cany fellas know that the South will never go for a UI unless they are dragged into it kicking, screaming and frothing at the mouth.

    So the best deal your poltergeist can do for you is to have you sit pat and make you look as appealing to the English as possible. This ain’t easy since Ulster sucked enough national treasure down the wormhole that California just surpassed the UK as the 5th largest economy in the world.

    Now I don’t know if the Queen is really pissed about the California thing BUT I do know that capos do not stay capos (or alive, usually) unless they are net contributors to the family. Wrenching the Gambino Family analogy one stagger further, it may be time to start being a net contributor to the UK exchequer or contemplate Ulster sleeping with the fishes.

    Since you guys have vistas of unparalleled natural beauty along the coasts and on Loch Erne, the development of a thriving tourist industry is a hellofa good start toward being a net contributor.

  • missfitz

    I wish I could say one thing.

    Fuck off smiling jim

  • Countergang

    I’m an American, I currently live in Ohio, and I’m excited to return to Northern Ireland in June for about four weeks.

    Last summer I stayed in Belfast while working with a group of American university students who were studying the Troubles and its legacies. While I find the news from Downpatrick disturbing, I don’t see any reasons to change my plans for this year’s trip.

    Here are a few strange/scary experiences:

    -A UVF show of force on the lower Newtonards Road on the night of the 11th, which included a few bursts of automatic gunfire (blanks I’m sure).

    -Drunken, bloodied stone-throwers patching up their wounds in the men’s toilet in a Belfast pub on the night of the 12th.

    -A republican thug who repeatedly tried to pick a fight with me in a pub in Newry. I finished my pint and left. Problem solved. After all, this happens often enough at home.

    -A taxi driver who called my female students a “bunch of lazy bitches” when they requested a ride from Queen’s to the US Consulate. This one still makes me chuckle.

    -A little girl who tossed a candy wrapper at me while I was wandering around Ballymurphy.

    -Drunken young loyalists playfully lobbing beer bottles at one another after the July 12th march in South Belfast.

    -Touring around the lower Shankill with a couple of cops. They got us out of there pretty quickly when the UDA scouts approached us to investigate.

    -Cumbersome inter-city transportation.

    Yes, the UVF show of force was pretty scary, but the rest of it is nothing much. Of course, people who are not into “political tourism” might not like it, but we had a lot of fun and I think we learned a lot.

    Good stuff:

    -Great access to well-connected people on all sides of the conflict, e.g. former paramilitaries, prisoners, community workers, gov’t types, academics at Queens, politicians, police, artists, etc. It seems that everyone in NI wants to tell his or her side of the story.

    -The shopkeeper in Ballymurphy who gave me directions out of that place. What a maze!

    -Drinking at the Crown with a self-described nationalist and her friend, who was a former soldier. We took the party back to his place, where we drank and sang songs for hours.

    -Excellent tour guides, even if they were sometimes a bit wordy.

    -Being introduced by a rather perplexed woman as “an American who drinks like we do.”

    -Long, thoughtful conversations with a couple of cops in North Belfast. I just didn’t expect it.

  • missfitz

    Smiling Jim
    If you are back on this thread, I apologise for the intemperate remarks I made earlier, I shouldnt have been on so late at night,

  • páid

    Well done for apologising MF. IMHO Smilin Jim writes with no little style or perception, as you do yourself.
    11 times a year I stay a couple o’ nights in NI. Done it for the past 6 years. Perceptions: It is staid compared with the South, folk don’t work as hard, or cheat as much. The food is worse, the signposts better. But all my perceptions are just that..Luck and my own mental state influence my experience more than reality.

  • Stig

    Just a point, but nobody’s mentioned the possibility that Downpatrick’s St Patrick’s Centre might actually have been worth trashing!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Stig: “Just a point, but nobody’s mentioned the possibility that Downpatrick’s St Patrick’s Centre might actually have been worth trashing! ”

    And just what, pray tell, defines a location as, as you so quaintly put it, “worth trashing?”

  • stig

    Dear Lovecraft lover,

    What deserves trashing? Well, somewhere as diabolical as the St Patrick Centre. Have you visited it? I have and I bitterly regret the fiver wasted which would have been better spent in Speedy Mullan’s.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Stig: “What deserves trashing? Well, somewhere as diabolical as the St Patrick Centre. Have you visited it? I have and I bitterly regret the fiver wasted which would have been better spent in Speedy Mullan’s.”

    If its not worth visiting, then how could it be worth trashing?