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All the best: Writer Paul Clements on his favourite things

By Kerry McKittrick

Published 13/06/2016

Paul Clements
Paul Clements
The Wild Atlantic Way
Les Mierables

The travel writer is in his late 50s and lives in Belfast with his wife Felicity and their son Daniel (20). He will be appearing at the Belfast Book Festival this week to discuss his latest work, Wandering Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way.

My best moment

It was my journey around the Wild Atlantic Way. Rather than drive the whole way, it was a mix of cycling and walking - I even rode a horse through the Burren in Co Clare. It was a gypsy cob called Guinness who plodded along and was very patient with me.

My best song

While I'm not a huge opera buff, I love Soave Sia Il Vento - which translates to 'sweet is the wind' - from Mozart's opera Cosi Fan Tutte. It's a lovely piece of music which is just three minutes long. As it's quite well known, I hear it on Radio Three all the time.

My best way to relax

Cycling off road. Again, while I was travelling along the Wild Atlantic Way I cycled the Great Western Greenway which runs from Achill Island to Westport and I did the whole thing. Thankfully it was quite flat. It's also quiet and traffic-free so you get a chance to appreciate the birdsong and the flowers.

My best job

The one I have now. I've worked for the BBC and newspapers in my career. Now, though, I have time to travel, research and meet people and get their stories. I like to immerse myself in a place to explore it rather than rush through it. As well as my own books I write pieces for travel books and newspapers. I might not be a millionaire but it's good reliable work.

My best advice

The Latin motto 'festina lente' which translates as 'make haste, slowly'. I did my journey of the Wild Atlantic Way over a period of nine months. I took it very slowly as the world has sped up considerably over the last 25 years.

My best gift

My wife recently bought me a 300-page touring atlas of France. I'm heading to France at the end of June, so I'll be using that to explore the French Atlantic coast for a bit of a holiday.

My best achievement

I've written four travel books about Ireland. This year saw the publishing of my most recent book about the Wild Atlantic Way and two of my earlier books were reprinted, too. The fact those books are still on the shelves in bookshops isn't too bad. I'm not quite James Patterson though - he makes £8,000 an hour from the sales of his books.

My best buy

My iPhone. I resisted getting one initially but while on my travels last year I took photos with my iPhone which were used in my book. I wouldn't be without one, now.

My best movie

I'm a fan of Woody Allen films, but I really loved the most recent film version of Les Miserables. I used to go to the pictures more than I do now and I love the stage show, but I think that's a very good film.

My best book

Venice by Jan Morris. It was first published in 1960 and it hasn't been out of print for over 50 years. I've read everything Jan has ever written - she's still writing and travelling even though she's turning 90 this year. It's full of her best writing - you feel like you're walking the streets with her in this book.

  • Paul will be in discussion with screenwriter John Morrison at the Moravian Church, University Street, Belfast on Wednesday from 8.30pm. For tickets and information visit www.belfastbookfestival.com

Belfast Telegraph

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