Throughout the troubles there were repeated comments to the effect that the violence was a huge impediment to the tourist industry. I have absolutely no doubt that that was correct. The idea went on that but for the violence we would have had hordes of tourists flocking to our unspoilt beaches; indeed I remember some favourable comparing of our beaches to Mediterranean ones. At that point unfortunately the argument fell down. The other thing that was omitted was that Northern Ireland’s weather is subtly different to that of Spain or the South of France and there is a certain temperature difference between the Mediterranean and the Irish Sea and the North Atlantic. Unfortunately now, however, although we have peace (of a sort) our beaches seem to be doing less well in terms of cleanliness: though many still seem to be “recommended”, we are doing less well than the East or South Coast of England. Incidentally I think the best beaches I have ever seen were those on the west coast of the Harris and Lewis but their climate makes ours seem a bit better and unsurprisingly they have relatively few people on the beaches.

This author has not written a biography and will not be writing one.

reasons to be cheerful