Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Seven Wonders of Northern Ireland: Jewel that says ‘I’m home’

Feels like home: Strangord Lough shows the best side of the country

Seven Wonders series continues with Lord Eames and Strangford Lough

Whenever I came back to Northern Ireland from my travels on behalf of the Anglican Communion, one of the first places I saw from the air was Strangford Lough.

It always reminds me of home. I also know it well from sailing on it and to me it represents so much of life here.

It is a place of many contrasts. At low tide you can see a reputed 365 rocks and islands.

It is a place of solitude where one can be alone with one’s thoughts or it can be a challenge, especially at the mouth of the lough where the waters rush strongly.

One can see the magnificent Mourne Mountains to the south and the drumlins of Co Down.

The contrasting shades and moods of Strangford Lough are like the contrasts in my own professional life here, ministering to people during 30 years of terrorism when they suffered bereavements and when fear stalked the homes of many people. I’ve seen people in sorrow but also at times of hope and opportunity. During my work I have visited countries where people suffered because of hunger, civil war and violence and I was always struck by the contrast between their lives and those of people living in lands of plenty like the USA or Australia.

Those are the thoughts that recur to me every time I see Strangford Lough, either from the air on when sailing on it.

No matter where you travel, it is a well-known location associated with the best side of Northern Ireland.

Lord Robin Eames (74) is former Primate of the Church of Ireland from 1986-2006, who also helped produce the Eames-Bradley consultative document on dealing with the legacy of the Troubles

How you can shape the Seven Wonders

So what do you, the reader, think makes Northern Ireland special?

As our series runs every day over the next month we invite readers to vote on which landmark or aspect of life here as detailed by our celebrity contributors that they most agree with.

At the conclusion of the series this will enable us to draw up a list of the Seven Wonders of Northern Ireland — the things that really make Northern Ireland great.

Your choices can be sent to Belfast Telegraph, 124-144 Royal Avenue, Belfast BT1 1EB or alternatively send an email to featureseditor@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

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