Silver Linings: Travels Around Northern Ireland

Overview

Martin Fletcher presents a portrait of a Northern Ireland of lakes, rivers, and mountains, where customs, traditions, and old-world charm survive. He reveals an incredibly resourceful province which has given the world not just bombs and bullets, but the tyre and the tractor, a dozen American presidents, two Prime Ministers of New Zealand, and a Hindu god.

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Overview

Martin Fletcher presents a portrait of a Northern Ireland of lakes, rivers, and mountains, where customs, traditions, and old-world charm survive. He reveals an incredibly resourceful province which has given the world not just bombs and bullets, but the tyre and the tractor, a dozen American presidents, two Prime Ministers of New Zealand, and a Hindu god.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Northern Ireland is not your typical travel destination, but it does have a lot to offer, as the author of this amiable book points out. Newspaper reporter Fletcher (Almost Heaven: Travels Through the Backwoods of America) spent two years traveling around the country and getting a feel for its land and people. What he discovered right away was that almost all of the people he met, even the extremists, were friendly, honest, and talkative. This gave him (and he in turn gives readers) some insight into the politics and everyday life of Northern Ireland. This is a compelling portrayal of the gorgeous landscape, the sad history, and the warm and enduring people of the country. Fletcher's writing is straightforward and laden with fascinating facts about the cities and sites that he visited and thoroughly researched. Recommended for all travel collections. Kathleen Shanahan, Kensington, MD Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A fast-paced tour of the six counties of Northern Ireland. In 1997, British journalist Fletcher (Almost Heaven, not reviewed) was assigned by the Times of London to cover the peace talks between Irish Protestants and Catholics. While his family lived safely in Belfast's suburbs, he criss-crossed the country. He begins along the east coast, where the population is declining despite the natural beauty and relative peace. Donaghadee, "a town as pretty as its name," has lost its seaside tourist trade to the inexpensive beaches of Spain with their guaranteed sunshine. The eerie Mourne Mountains, which inspired C.S. Lewis's Narnia series, have a man-made 20-mile stone walkway at their base. Fletcher has a taste for the rich and famous. He visits Van Morrison's modest childhood home in East Belfast. He interviews touring flutist James Galway, who fled the Troubles to settle in Switzerland. At the Portora Royal School, he views portraits of Oscar Wilde and 1923 cricket-squad member Samuel Beckett. Inland, Fletcher finds unique Irish activities. In Portadena, he listens to large Protestant men beat 40-pound Lambeg drums, trying to pick up subtle differences in their resonances. In Armagh, he follows two road-bowling matches, during which men roll and spin 28-ounce iron balls from town to town in as few throws as possible. He goes eel fishing, a traditionally Catholic occupation, on Lough Neagh; the prized catch is frozen and shipped to connoisseurs in Holland and Germany. Few pages pass without reference to the Troubles. While the peace accord of Good Friday 1998 seems to be holding, mothers remember their murdered sons and husbands, communities mourn their lost children, and the wounded healfrom devastating injuries. Lovely poetry from the famous and the obscure conveys the Irish heartache. Innumerable anecdotes, scenic vistas, and local events, mostly interesting, punctuated by horrific car-bomb explosions.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780349112510
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication date: 4/28/2001
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,334,828
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.82 (d)

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