A high time in Ulster

18 July 1997

A high time in Ulster

FROM the start of the FWC trip to Northern Ireland I knew we were going to have a great time. How can you not enjoy yourself when among such friendly and hospitable people?

The visit was not without its mishaps but I think my companions and I laughed our way around Ulster. Unfortunately on arrival at the city airport the vehicle I should have collected was not available and so I could not transport all our party and their luggage together. This meant extra driving for me between airports and along the shore road beside Strangford Lough, a route I love, the scenery is so beautiful.

We stayed near Newtown-ards but drove to Bangor to catch a train to the Royal Ulster Show at Balmoral on the Thursday.

On the Friday we visited the Giants Causeway. We got as far as Antrim and the electrics on the car failed. Amazing hospitality was shown to our group while I fiddled with fuses during the wait for the RAC.

We could not spend long at the Causeway but drove through the Glens of Antrim to return to base and I shall always be grateful to the Northern Ireland group for being so patient – we were two hours late for the party held in our honour. This was unavoidable as we had been running late all day, and then to cap it all we were stopped by the RUC who after checking us out insisted on finding directions to our destination.

What a feast was spread out in Rene McMullans front room, a true FWC contribution supper and we were so pleased to be joined by contact leader Sheena Birch who has worked tirelessly to get this club off the ground.

There was much chattering and exchanging of names and addresses that night and the following day we all met again to visit the Irish Linen Centre in Lisburn. Catherine Shaw had made the arrangements for this day and it was fascinating to learn all about flax and how it becomes fabric.

Hillsborough was our next port of call – a delightful village with many Georgian buildings. On Saturday night we all ended up at the Tidy Doffer, a perfect end to the day when the Ulster members were joined by those from West Fife and Kinross, Lincolnshire and Nottingham-shire clubs. A very happy gathering – almost the end of a wonderful trip, when in Jean Wylies words "we were well pavlovad!"

Jean Howells

Janet Laird and Catherine Shaw at the Irish Linen Centre.

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