Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Seven Wonders of Northern Ireland: We’re always on cue with a quip

Daniel Nixon and Calum Devlin beside a portrait of Dennis Taylor in Gervin’s Snooker Hall

Our Seven Wonders series continues with the king of the green baize from Coalisland.

When I left Northern Ireland to work in England I was a very shy 17-year-old and I could never have imagined that one day I would end up making my living in front of millions of people, both as a snooker player and as a broadcaster, often making jokes.

One of the funniest men I ever met was Jim Joe Gervin, who ran the snooker hall in Coalisland where I learned to play.

His speech was peppered with ‘Irishisms’ — “the first time I was ever up a ladder, it was down a well”.

Once, when I was playing an exhibition match in Belfast, I borrowed my dad’s car to travel to the club. When I came out, the car was gone, stolen. This was during the Troubles. The club organised a lift home for us and the taximan assured us that “you’ll get your car back, maybe through the post, but you’ll get it”.

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