A welcome harbour from stormy high seas of economic catastrophe
Sometimes it's good to look at everyday objects and actions from a different angle. Take Belfast, a city which you could have thought has put behind it the days when its prosperity was dependent on the efficiency of its port.
Not a bit of it.
Earlier this week a few of us were taken out on a boat to see Belfast from the sea.
A quick tour of both sides of the harbour reveals the main landmarks such as the Odyssey Arena and Titanic Building but also the hustle and bustle of commerce not as obvious from land.
We passed 45,000-tonne vessels unloading their cargo of grain from South America and further afield, a ferry being overhauled, wind turbines being prepped for dispatch to the Irish Sea, container vessels loading and unloading a myriad of goods... I could go on.
That proved the port of Belfast is not only as important to the economy of Northern Ireland but is becoming more important.
That a new dock has been created to accomodate renewable energy from projects such as DONG Energy shows changing demands are met by a flexible approach.
You only have to look at the schedule of cruise ship arrivals – 60 for 2013 at the last count – to see that a working harbour is an essential asset to any city.
And for anyone worried for the environment, at the main Harland & Wolff dock you'll see the return of seals to the harbour.
So next time you're near the port, take a look at the seaborne activity keeping Northern Ireland at the hub of global commerce.
It'll open your eyes.