Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Lovely Larne

Unlovely Larne lingers in my mind. I found a photograph of Larne in snow, which takes the edge of it a bit.

Maybe I was a little too hard on Larne: it seems it is quite an historic place. It has been a port for over 1,000 years and apparently there is a touching statue showing an emigrant family heading for the boat. But in more recent times it is associated in Northern Irish history with the Larne gun-running of 1914, when certain men smuggled 20,000 rifles and 4 million rounds of ammunition for the defense of Ulster through the port of Larne. If there is one thing Ireland has needed least throughout recent history, it is guns.

Like most other Northern Irish towns it has had a troubling sectarian history, but it was not until I was living in New York City that I first heard the terrible yet evocative expression, "to hang one's head low like a Larne Catholic."