Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Travelblog - Belfast

A day trip to Belfast to meet some of the family and enjoy some of the sights of the city.

A lovely calm day meant that the Lagan was very still and had beautiful reflections.
This one of the Waterfront Hall is one of my favourites.

More recently this sculpture of a female figure has been added to Thanksgiving Square, the sign underneath reads "This female figure represents various allegorical themes associated with hope and aspiration, peace and reconcilliation and is derived from images from Classical and Celtic mythology. Her position on the globe signifies a unified approach to life on this earth. It encompasses oneness, while celebrating the diversity of culture that exists in our global village.

The aim of the sculpture is to bring people together and to change hearts and minds; to make bridges across the divides in our community. To work towards a peaceful, happy existence for everyone on this planet by respect for each other, their cultural heritages and all our aspirations.

This symbol creates a tangible first statement of our long term objective in bringing people together to foster a happy and fulfilling life for all and a sense of gratefulness for all that life has given us."

To be honest, I think this message "went on a bit" - but what I can tell you is that I've spent quite a lot of time in Northern Ireland over the past few years and it is a great place, full of peace and beauty. The people are warm and welcoming, and it is a shame that for some reason, some outsiders still think that Belfast is "a dangerous" city and hasn't changed since the 1980s. At least we can say that this unjustified stigma does tend to keep the opinionated fools away - which means that the city is preserved for the nicer, more open minded visitors!

You can read more about this sculpture at the BBC here or the Northern Irish Tourist Board web site here

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Travelblog - Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Not really for those who are scared of heights.
The rope bridge has been improved over the years and now has "netting" on the sides.
I'm told that it used to be just a rope for your feet and a lean-to rope for your hands.
Then upgraded to planks and guide ropes - this you can see on the NT web site

Now, there's little or no danger, but strong winds make it a bit more fun!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Travelblog - Glenariff Forest Park

Again, we've been incredibly lucky. The bluebells were out, the wild garlic was in flower, Ava was in a posing mood.

The lighting was just great on the Waterfalls walk as well, some slower shutter speeds give the water this fluffy whoosy look

Go to Glenariff Forest Park's own web site for more information on this scenic place

Travelblog - Ballycastle

Lucky timing meant that our visit to the North Antrim Coast coincided with the Celtic European Festival of the Sea. Although we only saw one tall ship leaving Ballycastle harbour, it was a spectacular sight.

The nice thing about tall ships in open ocean is that there's no frame of reference for date. A little bit of post production sepia toning and this could be in the early 1900s instead of the early 2000s !

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Travelblog - The Giant's Causeway

One word to describe this place - Amazing!

I simply can't get my head around the idea that this place is naturally formed.

The National Trust now own this along with a large part of the rest of the North Antrim coast, and they seem to be doing a good job of maintaining this unusal geological feature. Just one word of warning though...
I'm advised that the rather pricey £5 car park fee goes wholly to the lo
cal council and the Trust get not a penny of that, so please be sure to make a donation or join the National Trust when you are there.

Ava still seemed to manage to attract the attention a large number of the tourists. For some reason, she was an especially big hit with our American friends.

Although the holiday weather was superb, bright and sunny. I'm told that the Causeway actually looks best on a stormy day with waves crashing against the rocks. All the same, it was still fantastic in the afternoon sun.

For more information about the Giant's Causeway, I'd recommending starting with the Wikipedia entry.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Travelblog - Ballintoy

Took the "High Speed Luxury Vessel" (Stena HSS) across from Stranraer to Belfast - what a nice crossing, very smooth and very fast.

Spent the night in Belfast and went out to McHughs for a great meal and good craic, followed by a spot of clubbing at the Odyssey, although I think I must be getting too old for all that melarky!

All in all I can really recommend Belfast for a good holiday location in general as well as a great night out.

The following day travelled up North to the Beautiful North Antrim coast and settled in to our gorgeos holiday cottage at McShane Glen. I can't say enough good things about this place, a teeny oasis of cottages in the middle of green fields overlooking the sea, centrally placed with convenient access to all the good tourist attractions

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Fame at Last!

At last!!
One of my photos has (kind of) become famous.

Now appearing on the packaging of one of the products at work (Brother).
The lower left corner of this Brother DCP-340CW box shows part of one of my pictures of our best friend's first little boy (Adam) playing in the playground in Uppermill.

Apparently there are millions of these out there in Europe
- Damn, I should have asked for some license fee!

Anyway, go buy one of these machines, they are excellent and good value for money (but I would say that!) Go to to find European offices and dealers from there

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Travelblog - Denmark

Wonderful Copenhagen this week.

I've been working with people from Denmark for quite a few years now and I have to say that these people (in particular) are the nicest and easiest to get on with and are just very laid back, cool and groovy.

Having now spent some time in Denmark, I can see that this seems to be true for Danish people in general - all really lovely. I can thoroughly recommend going there.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Travelblog - Paris (again)

Flew straight on from Zurich to Paris for more meetings in the French office and another nice weekend with the family in France again.

With all this travelling I'm doing at the moment, I'm hoping to save up some airmiles!!

One thing I'd recommend to anybody else who travels on planes is to get some anti-noise headphones. They are just superb and you can have a really pleasent trip - even the bumpy ones seem more tolerable when you don't have to listen to the roar of engines and rushing of wind for a couple of hours. Sony in-ear type are my personal preference and well worth the investment.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Travelblog - Zurich

Switzerland on Business next. Stayed in the city centre this time in an excellent hotel - Jaczuzzi in the bathroom, but sadly I was too knackered to give it a go.

Things seem to be expensive in Switzerland, but I'd also say that the quality is better.

Zurich airport - what a place, it just seems like a massive flat area criss crossed with tarmac everwhere - I've never seen so many taxiways and runways.