I’ve been pointed in the direction of this article. It’s a travel article from last Saturday’s Times, about a guy going round the new Loughshore cycle trail, which conveniently passes through my little town. And to show you how little it is, I’ll quote some of it and point out relevance:
Antrim?s edge came and went, lough views dipping in and out like pictures you could hardly believe: it was all so peaceful, so immense. Then the small, bustling streets of tiny Randalstown, at the lake?s top. After that, a strange encounter.
It was cold by now. Growing dark. I had made 30 miles that afternoon and was slogging up a slow hill towards the village pub where I was due to spend the night. But what was this? Eerily alone at the side of this small, country road, stood a solitary figure in a suit, around his neck, glinting in the last light of day, a mayoral chain.
Yo, bitch, Randalstown ain’t that tiny. ‘Tis small, but we have the sense to hide the estates away from the tourists. Then they spend more. And that hill is heading towards a small village outside Randalstown, which you’d know if you asked for the village pub in Randalstown. There’s a choice of eight.
So that?s what they got. Robert Loughran presented me with a commemorative plaque, someone took photos, they bought me a Guinness, then delicately reclaimed the plaque and disappeared back into the night, leaving me in the Creeve House Country Guest Inn, where I sat in the bar talking to a solitary eel fisherman.
Bobby Loughran is deputy mayor now? I suppose he would be, now he’s not the barman across the road anymore… And I’m pretty sure that Creeve House didn’t have a licence… Sorry, my mistake, their website says they do. When did that happen?
There were other, stranger signs of tradition. At the ancient ruins of Cranfield church a few miles southeast of Randalstown, I encountered not just the beautiful, rock-built remains of a long-abandoned religious centre, but a ?Holy Well? ? surrounded by low trees oddly smothered in rags. Local lore insists that if you dampen a cloth in these waters, then touch it to an area of personal pain and hang the rag near by, the pain vanishes.
Nah mate, the pain vanishes because of the very nice pub a stones throw from the well. The one that is so far from anywhere that the cops never bother visiting. Meaning that licencing laws and noise levels are totally useless. Which is nice. It also has a nice car park, with lots of loose grave and a nice flat grassy area. Where I did my finest donut ever. The car was never the same afterwards, though…
I met Peter McClelland on my third day and was grateful, mostly because I?d spent the night off the trail in a former mining town called Coalisland, a smokey, urban centre that was not my cup of tea.
Coalisland? Urban center? Only if you get terrified in groups of four or more. Cos thats about the population…
Ain’t it nice to have relevance in news stories?