Belfast Telegraph

Bit of a turn-up as Swede called Larne pays visit to Larne

By Nevin Farrell

Larne might not be up there with London, Paris and New York as one of the world's must-see destinations, but a Swedish man's lifetime ambition to visit the town has been fulfilled.

That's because his name is Larne Wallisson, and he's a semi-retired sports journalist from near Malmo.

Larne made it his mission to visit Larne to mark his 65th birthday, where he was impressed with the friendly nature of the people including mayor Martin Wilson, who hosted a special town hall reception for him and his wife Sol-Britt.

However, perhaps controversially for a town you share the same name with, he admitted that Belfast was better.

Although, to be fair to the port, most regional towns in the world are put in the shade by nearby larger cities.

And Larne also admitted that while here he stayed in Belfast, as opposed to the coastal town.

Larne refers to our Larne as his "home town", and he said after learning he shared the same name as the port he had vowed to visit "before I die".

He said: "Between you and me, Belfast was better.

"But it was great to be in Larne and I met the mayor and it was fantastic.

"My neighbour asked me how it was, and I said: 'Go to Belfast and then Larne'."

He added: "It was so friendly and the people of Larne were so kind, including mayor Martin Wilson.

"We also visited Carnlough, where we went to the waterfalls, and went to the Titanic Centre in Belfast."

Larne is now telling his neighbours and friends in Sweden to visit the port.

There is no direct link between the town of Larne and the name Larne in Sweden, a rare name there that just happens to share the same collection of letters.

"There are only nine people in Sweden called Larne," explained Larne, whose son Johan's second name is Larne.

Mayor Wilson said he was delighted to host a man with the same name as the town.

He presented the Swedish visitor with a special plaque to commemorate his visit to his Co Antrim namesake.

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