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Revealed: Which Northern Ireland town is the capital of crap?

Book brands it Ulster's worst town... but proud locals launch a robust defence

Published 14/02/2014

The Stiles estate in Antrim has long been associated with loyalist sectarianism and naked bigotry.
The Stiles estate in Antrim has long been associated with loyalist sectarianism and naked bigotry.
Beautiful Ulster - readers' pictures: Morning canter on the White Rocks beach, Portstewart, Co Antrim. By Eveyn McCullough
Beautiful Ulster - readers' pictures: Dunluce Castle, Co Antrim. By Emma Gornall from Belfast.
Beautiful Ulster - readers' pictures: Frosses Road, Co Antrim. Pic Bill Broadhurst
Beautiful Ulster - readers' pictures: Crawfordsburn Country Park - 'smoke on the water'. Pic David J Campbell
Beautiful Ulster - readers' pictures: Portrush and Ramore Head from the West Strand, Co Antrim. By Joan Eakin
Beautiful Ulster - readers' pictures: Bessbrook Mill pond with Camlough Mountain in the background. Pic John Patton
Boats moored at Strangford Lough, Co Down. Pic Ed Luke
Mountain Cornflower, taken on the banks of the Inver River, Larne. Pic Ed Luke
Lusty Beg Island looking towards Enniskillen. Pic Bill Broadhurst
High tide at Carnfunnock. Pic Brian McCalden
Snowy hills above Ballygally. Pic Brian McCalden
Lead Mines in Newtownards. Pic Eric Thompson
Windy morning at Port Muck. Pic Bill Broadhurst
The River Lagan at Lisburn on Christmas morning. By Gareth Baillie-Stewart
Old St Aidan's Church, Benone, Co Londonderry. By Martin Rooney, Newtownabbey.
The ancient Beaghmore Stone Circles, near Cookstown. By Liam McClean from Omagh
Donaghadee lighthouse, Co Down. By Angela Couzens from Victoria, Australia.
Whitepark Bay: Pic Ricky Bamford
The Mourne Mountains from Legananny Dolman, Co Down. By Margaret Whittock
Beautiful noon in Carrickfergus. Pic Cathy Mullan
Gibson's Point, Bangor, Co Down. By David J Campbell.
Blackford Dolphin oil rig at Harland and Wolff. Pic David J Campbell
Old Mill outside Portaferry, Co Down. Pic David J Campbell
Carnfunnock. Pic Brian McCalden
Samson and Goliath at Harland and Wolff. Pic David J Campbell
Carnfunnock. Pic Brian McCalden
Carnfunnock. Pic Brian McCalden
'The silver lady' at Titanic Belfast. Pic David J Campbell
Dooey Beach, Donegal. Pic Pauline Lomax
Dunfanaghy Famine Graveyard, Donegal. Pic Pauline Lomax
Benone Beach. Pic John Hartin
Beach close to Downings in Donegal. Pic Pauline Lomax
Portstewart Strand. Pic Pauline Lomax
Oxford Island. Pic Debbie Deboo
This was taken while out on a walk along the North Down coastal path as the sun was setting. Pic David J Campbell
The Giant's Causeway. Pic Debbie Deboo
Taken at An Creagan when I went to photograph the local fungi. Pic Debbie Deboo
Taken during a trip along the Antrim coast road. Pic Debbie Deboo
Benone Beach. Pic John Hartin
Binevenagh Mountain. Pic John Hartin
Manann Mclir, the mythical Celtic god of the sea, overlooking Lough Foyle and Magilligan Point. Taken from Gortmore viewing point by Glenn Miles
Roe Valley Country Park in snow. By John Hartin, Limavady.
Mournes. Pic Brian McCalden
An otter on the bank of the Sixmile River, Antrim by Jim McAlorum.
Binevenagh Mountain. By John Hartin, from Limavady
'Redflection' Bangor. Pic David J Campbell
The Eisenhower Pier, Bangor. Pic David J Campbell
Carrickfergus Castle taken from the end of King William III Pier. Pic Rachel Beattie
Greencastle, Co Down. Pic Brian McCalden
18 Arches on Belfast to Dublin near Bessbrook. Pic John Patton
Glenshane. Pic Brian McCalden
Watertop open farm in Co Antrim. Pic Brian McCalden
White Island in Femanagh lakes. Pic Brian McCalden
Wild swans at Rathcoole. Pic Brian Calden
Ballycastle. Pic Brian McCalden
Flowers. Pic Brian McCalden
Knockloughrim. Pic Brian McCalden
Peatlands Park. Pic Brian McCalden
Breen Oakwood, Ballycastle, Co Antrim. Pic Karenann Toney
Ballycastle & Rural Riding Community on their first group ride of the year at Downhill Beach. Pic Karenann Toney
Ballycastle Beach, Co Antrim. Pic Karenann Toney
Rathlin Island. Pic Brian McCalden
Cavehill, Belfast. Pic Brian McCalden
Lough Cowey, Portaferry. Pic Brian McCalden
Sheep on the Mournes. Pic Brian McCalden
The Arcadia, Portrush. Pic Ann McMinn
Lagan River at Minnowburn. Pic Brian McCalden
Glenarm Harbour. Pic Brian McCalden
Ballintoy Harbour. Pic Stephen Ferguson
Sloughan Glen Waterfall, near Drumquin. By Liam McClean from Omagh
Cavehill in Belfast. Pic Brian McCalden
Cushendun - picture submitted by Jason Grant
This photo of Barnesmore Gap in County Donegal as the sun was going down. I have taken this scene a lot of times over the years and and this was my best pic. Taken by Bill Mc Cormick, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
My Name is Joanna Burleigh and I live in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh. My photo is taken from one of my favourite ulster spots, capturing the surrounding Fermanagh landscape. Fermanagh is a beautiful area of the country, with luscious green fields and beautiful lakes.
From Peter Molloy near Ballycastle, These shots are from an unfinished project provisionally entitled Rural Gates, trying to capture the almost extinct styles of wrought iron field gates, once so prevalent in our countryside. These gates would have been made by a local blacksmith, and every county, would have had it's own distinctive style.The first was taken at McCarry's farmhouse at Murlough Bay Co Antrim, and is unusual in the double pattern, the gates using diagonal crossbars normally only had one set of two diagonals. The second taken at Escort clachan on the road down to Torr Head shows a common pattern unique to North Antrim. Escort has been re-developed since, not sure if this gateway still exists.
From Peter Molloy near Ballycastle, These shots are from an unfinished project provisionally entitled Rural Gates, trying to capture the almost extinct styles of wrought iron field gates, once so prevalent in our countryside. These gates would have been made by a local blacksmith, and every county, would have had it's own distinctive style.The first was taken at McCarry's farmhouse at Murlough Bay Co Antrim, and is unusual in the double pattern, the gates using diagonal crossbars normally only had one set of two diagonals. The second taken at Escort clachan on the road down to Torr Head shows a common pattern unique to North Antrim. Escort has been re-developed since, not sure if this gateway still exists.
Dunluce Castle Antrim Coast - submitted by Rob Mcgurk from Australia
Sunset over Lough Neagh. Pic Jim McAlorum
Six Mile Water in Antrim. Pic Jim McAlorum
North Coast of Co Antrim - Torr Head with the Mull of Kintyre in the distance and the North Channel in between. Pic Brendan McAtamney
I captured this amazing scene on the shoreline of Lough Melvin near Garrison, Co Fermanagh on a cold and crisp spring morning. Pic Brendan McAtamney
View of Portstewart Strand on a cold January afternoon. Pic Evelyn McCullough
Sunset at Oxford Island, Lough Neagh. Taken by Vic Donaldson from Portadown.
Heritage listed bridge across the River Dun at Cushendun - submitted by Helen Darling (an Australian) married to Tom (born in Belfast and with very strong Irish links) who emigrated to Australia in 1982. We live in York, Western Australia
Crosskeys Inn County Antrim. Taken S by Ciara Hurl
Murlough Bay - submitted by Helen Darling (an Australian) married to Tom (born in Belfast and with very strong Irish links) who emigrated to Australia in 1982. We live in York, Western Australia
Balintoy Harbour - submitted by Jamie Baird, 20, from Belfast
Don’t just look at the rope bridge when you are at Carrick-a-Rede, the surrounding cliffs are just as impressive! Submitted by Jamie Baird, 20, from Belfast
The Mournes, by George Wills
Mount Stewart, Newtownards, pictured by Ken McNeilly from Ontario, Canada as wife Philomena reflects on the beauty
Slemish in its autumn splendour, from my garden at Broughshane. By Maureen Ballantine
A duck on the River Lagan, by George Wills from Tullynacross
Ducks in a field with Scrabo Tower in the background. By Brian Watt in Belfast
Evening light on Ballintoy. Submitted by Evelyn McCullough (Portstewart).
Lurgan Park, Co Armagh by Gavin Haughey. The picture was taken in a late evening in June 2012 and shows the reflection of the trees and sky on the water
I am Hildegunn Osen, fromNorway and took this picture during my recent visit to Northern Ireland. I had a pleasant stay and enjoyed the sunset in the Waterworks Park, North Belfast. By coincidence a swan was caught up in the middle of the photo. October 2013
Comber, Co Down. Picture taken on Bann's Road, Loughshannagh, looking towards Spelga Dam. September 2013. Picture submitted by (Ms) Ricky Bamford
The Foyle Ferry (Magilligan). Submitted by Alan Beggs. September 2013
Storm clouds between Ballycastle and Ballintoy - Irwin Armstrong Ballymena
Mellow evening light on the river Bann, after a very dull day. That's Irish weather for you, unpredictable, and often disappointing. But then when the sun does come out, the wonderful colours of our Irish countryside are revealed in Mother Nature's most beautiful patchwork. Submitted by Evelyn McCullough, Portstewart.
A lovely trip to Rathlin Island and stunning views at the bird sanctuary. Ronnie McClelland, Age 66.
Another stunning view of the Antrim coast at Downhill as the evening train approaches the tunnel. Ronnie McClelland, Age 66.
St Colmcille surveying the beautiful view from the top of Binevenagh mountain. Jennifer McClelland, Age 61.
Taken at Mountstewart. A beautiful place that I love to visit on a summer's day. Submitted by Janet Wallace.
Sunset at Dunluce Castle a very beautiful part of the North Coast. Submitted by Jason Conlon.
Work I did today in the garden - such a wonderful way to spend time in Northern Ireland. A wee trip out and still time to spend at home. Submitted by Linda Hutchinson.
Once I had processed and studied this peaceful photograph of Portaferry, it dawned on me as being a symbolic picture. This little Hamlet is one of the many beautiful jewels in Northern Ireland,s crown and for me represents the desire that we all want to be ferried from the strife and bitterness of the past to a time when we will all live in peace ,tranquility and harmony. Submitted by Ian Carr.
Photo : South West Acute Hospital Enniskillen. Being able to spend time with my very ill mother in hospital is a blessing - tough times but I reckon the views are good for the soul. Submitted by Gareth Lee, Omagh.
Victoria Park, Sydenham. This particular scene in my opinion displays the characteristics of a pleasant, warming and natural attractiveness of our local beauty spots. Submitted by Gerry Ward (age 80) - amateur photographer.
This photo relates to Shaws Bridge in Belfast and epitomises to me the character of the area and the bridge layout in particular. Submitted by Gerry Ward.
Silage. Dromore, Co. Tyrone. Submitted by Emma Gormley.
I'm 26 and I'm an amateur photographer from Portadown, Co Armagh. This is my photograph of the bridge in Portadown that joins Portadown town centre with Edenderry over the River Bann. I liked this and chose this photo as firstly I like the composition, the reflections, the smaller details like the man staring across the water. Also I feel its symbolic of the progressive Northern Ireland. These days with a lot of bridges having been made, being made and still to be made I feel the bridge is the ultimate symbol of Northern Ireland. Submitted by Duane Bryers.
Bonamargy is just one of those places which delivers a special kind of 'peace' whether it's sunny, wet, warm or cold. The sun came out for the first time on 29th June - just when I decided I wanted to capture the picture!! Now that's special! Submitted by David McKeown.
View of Armagh taken from St Patrick's RC Cathedral looking over to St. Patrick's C of I Cathedral. Both Cathedrals are special places to visit with great history and amazing architecture, By Brian Mason, Richhill
I am attaching two photos taken last Saturday of the interior of the two cathedrals in Armagh City. Both are very special places to visit with stunning architecture and steeped in history. By Brian Mason, Richhill
I have chosen this photograph of Carrickfergus castle as I always loved the castle as a child, I imagined living in it and was fascinated by the history behind it. It's only recently again that I have been revisiting it and I love this image, as even though it was a cloudy day it still stands out as a landmark to be proud of along our shores. By Rebecca Martin.
Please find attached photo taken 29 06 13 at Articlave from backgarden in evening. HEADING HOME TO ROOST. A perfect end to a perfect day for me, anywhere up north. Regards Raymond Liggett Age 67
Middle earth comes to the north coast. You drive down this unsigned road to discover a wooden mirage opening up before you. The best surprises just happen! Submitted by David and Alison Flanagan.
The morning light just caught the fan window beautifully displaying the beauty and serenity that is St George's Market in Belfast. The venue is so bright and alive; the new belfast. Submitted by David and Alison Flanagan.
This is a picture of Newtownards and Scrabo Hill with the sunshine over the town. It's a great view of my home town at night. Andrew McKee from Newtownards.
A lovely trip to Rathlin Island and stunning view at the bird sanctuary. Ronnie McClelland, Age 66.
Over 60 category Picture 059 - Killyleagh, Co Down in the late afternoon. A picturesque scene. Violet Stockdale (Crossgar)
My name is Matthew Humphreys (age 39), from Glengormley, and I wish to enter the everyone else category of the One Summers Day Photography Competition 2013. The title of my photograph is The Road To Slemish Mountain. Tradition tells us that when enslaved as a youth, Saint Patrick worked on Slemish Mountain and the surrounding area as a shepherd between the ages of 16 and 22 and that it was during his time here that he found God. What makes this place so special for my fiancée and I, is that we make the annual pilgrimage by climbing the mountain along with hundreds of other people on the 17th of March each year. Its a big part of our heritage and culture and a big part of our country's history. About half an hour after taking this shot, the clouds moved in and covered the top of the mountain, so I was quite lucky to get this shot. I hope you all like my photograph. Please find attached my image, The Road To Slemish Mountain.
These beautiful Fox Gloves grow wild in the country side in Northern Ireland. Their bright colour shines through from a distance. This were taken near my home in Dromore, County Down. The soft texture and beautiful innocence of the flower is in contrast to the sharp grey barbed wire in the photo. Teresa Adams aged 47.
Roselick Cottage is the last-remaining of a clachan of a dozen similar homes in this rural area near the former Cromore Halt railway station on the approach road to Portstewart. Over the years all the others have been demolished. The cottage was lived in continuously until the 1960's and lies within the gardens of our home, Roselick Lodge. Stewart Moore (Adult Section. Age: 63)
Category: Everyone else Name: Ryan Simpson Age: 21 Town: Warrenpoint I take a lot of photos in and around the Warrenpoint area, however June 29th proved to be a particularly beautiful evening to take the camera out. This shot is taken down at the Marina in the town, looking back towards the harbour and up over the Cooley Mountains. I love the explosion of colour in this picture and it begins to capture the outstanding natural beauty to be found in this wonderful corner of the country
This photo was taken at the Hole Stone near Parkgate, Co. Antrim. It was a tradition for couples to join hands through the hole as part of the marriage ceremony. I visited it with my wife on our first wedding anniversary. Paul Muldoon
Name: Paul Leslie Age: 21 Northern Ireland has superb countryside, where else could you see beautifully sights like these. A cornfield, lit up by the summer sun and a sea of colourful flowers. The last photo is the famous "Balls on the Falls" in the more traditional "British Summer" i.e wind and rain.
Name: Paul Leslie Age: 21 Northern Ireland has superb countryside, where else could you see beautifully sights like these. A cornfield, lit up by the summer sun and a sea of colourful flowers. The last photo is the famous "Balls on the Falls" in the more traditional "British Summer" i.e wind and rain.
Please find attached my shot that I am entering in the adult section of one summers day! 'My fiancee Laura told me about the One Summers Day competition and I knew I had to enter! We drove down to 'The Eighteen Arches' in Newry to capture this! I got lucky with a beautiful evening, and really lucky when one of the many friendly cows walked into the frame!'
I took this picture because I love the wide range of wildlife that live in Northern Ireland. John Corry, Belfast.
Taken early morning 29th June. The black arch Larne, Drains Bay also Larne. Adult category. Its Special as this is the gateway too the Glens. Norman Grey
Love relaxing in the garden watching the birds (a male bullfinch on this occasion)and enjoying the flowers. Name Noeni Bryars
Whilst out walking with my girlfriend along the Lagan towpath at Shaw's Bridge. It was a beautiful summers evening and the water was very still - producing this amazing reflection of the bridge and trees. Neal Finlay
Ballykelly Presbyterian built by James Turnbull 1827 at a cost of £4000 Neo Classical style Grade A listed presented to the congregation of 900 by the Fishmongers Company 4th March 1828 My favourite building in my village and also the family church of the famous aviator Samuel Kinkead. Norman B Thorpe DOB 3/7/48
This photo was taken from Lough Erne Fermanagh while doing a bit of island hopping in boat. Which needs foreign holidays when we have the beauty of this in our we country!!! Lyn Herron Age 35 Holywood
Lucy Fleming , 13, Category: Secondary school. This picture was taken at Ramore Head, Portrush. This is known locally as 'The Devils Washtub'. I live here and love the town and walk around here with my dogs rain, hail or shine.
Please find attached my entry for the "One Summer's Day" competition. I'm 30, so will be in the "everyone else" category! It was taken on Portstewart Strand on Saturday evening while having a barbeque with some great friends. I've always loved the way the sun comes through the clouds like this. There's something magical about the rays stretching out from the clouds. Hope you like it!! Katie Russell
View from Islandmagee - Timeless Adult category Joyce Borland
Ballynoe Stone Circle Near Downpatrick County Down One Summers Day 2013 A shot taken at Sunset on the 29th June 2013 at Ballynoe Stone Circle Downpatrick County Down NI UK (high res shot available if needed) the day was not one for photography until after dinner and i spotted an opportunity when the sun came out and there was potential for a good sunset, unfortunately the sunset was ruined by incoming cloud before it got going. Ballynoe Stone Circle is a little known quiet site 3 miles south of Downpatrick managed by the NIEA which has a natural atmosphere especially early in the morning or evening. By Jon Lees (photograph of in second photo) for entry in the adult category Jon Lees
Name: Jade McCarten Age: 16 Category: Secondary School Student I was on a walk on a Saturday by myself with my camera and tripod decided to visit my favourite place, Murlough Beach. It was such a beautiful day. The view from here is just outstanding. I wanted to try my first panorama shot and this is how it turned out! I've been here every year since I was a child and I'm in love with the view.
So my one summers day shot was taken in Bangor there was lots going on but I had a shift a DW gym so headed out early, got a few nice shots but this to me summed up Summer a wee bumble bee going about his business, and what a great location the community garden at Project 24 (the brightly coloured pods in Bangor) such a lovely tranquil place to chill and watch the world go by. Shirley Graham
Melanie Thompson - aged 54, amateur photographer. Photographs taken on this date 29/06/13, all in Island Magee & Whitehead. Had a family cottage there, where we spent our summers & very fond & happy memories. Great grandparents/ grandparents had the cottage from war time until early 1980s, when it was decided (sadly) to give it up.
Managed to capture these deer ,(well camouflaged), in the trees at Castle Archdale Country Park, Co .Fermanagh. This is a family favourite , peaceful location where we enjoy wandering around the many nature trails close to the shores of Lough Erne. Entered by Ivy Cowan (adult)
A little hidden gem...'Verner's Bridge' near Peatland's Park, Dungannon. They say this is the point where 'Tyrone meets Armagh'... 14 year old daughter took it today as we stopped for a spontaneous picnic. A beautiful, serene moment ...incorporating the calm water, a jet skier at play, and a father and son in harmony enjoying the untroubled relaxed tranquility...Helen Mitchell (mum)
Name - Faye Wallace Age - 15 Category- secondary school The photo is of a bee sleeping in a flower. This photo is special as it relates to what I think summer is about.
My name is Robert Bashford and I am a middle aged amateur photographer who spent the 29th June down in Bangor at a Car and Vehicle exhibition in the Castle Grounds. The Band of the Royal Air Force were in attendance and an exhibition of Sculpture were on show in the Walled Gardens. I've attached four images from the day for your consideration.
My name is Robert Bashford and I am a middle aged amateur photographer who spent the 29th June down in Bangor at a Car and Vehicle exhibition in the Castle Grounds. The Band of the Royal Air Force were in attendance and an exhibition of Sculpture were on show in the Walled Gardens. I've attached four images from the day for your consideration.
Please find attached photo taken 29 06 13 at Articlave from backgarden in evening. HEADING HOME TO ROOST. A perfect end to a perfect day for me, anywhere up north. Regards Raymond Liggett Age 67
Taken by Kate Reavill
JOEL ARCHBOLD AGE 12 ... WILDFLOWER MEADOW ON BALLYEARL RATH
Mark McGimpsey, age 10, taken at the Bangor Seashore Festival
Mark McGimpsey, age 10, taken at the Bangor Seashore Festival
Melanie Thompson - aged 54, amateur photographer. All photographs are untouched/photoshopped. Taking photographs is my hobby, these were all taken last Saturday 29th June as requested, though as usual, the weather did us no favours! They were all taken in Antrim - Whitehead, Browns Bay & Port Muck in Island Magee, where we had a holiday cottage from war time until the early 1980s. An area of Northern Ireland largely untouched & one I hold close to my heart.
Melanie Thompson - aged 54, amateur photographer. All photographs are untouched/photoshopped. Taking photographs is my hobby, these were all taken last Saturday 29th June as requested, though as usual, the weather did us no favours! They were all taken in Antrim - Whitehead, Browns Bay & Port Muck in Island Magee, where we had a holiday cottage from war time until the early 1980s. An area of Northern Ireland largely untouched & one I hold close to my heart.
Melanie Thompson - aged 54, amateur photographer. Photographs taken on this date 29/06/13, all in Island Magee & Whitehead. Had a family cottage there, where we spent our summers & very fond & happy memories. Great grandparents/ grandparents had the cottage from war time until early 1980s, when it was decided (sadly) to give it up.

Antrim is the worst place to live in Northern Ireland, according to a new book, writes Jack Brennan.

Crap Towns Returns, Back by Unpopular Demand ranked Antrim 35 in the Top 50 worst places in the UK – the only entry from Northern Ireland.

"I did have nominations from other towns – but Antrim was the one that really shone through this time," said author Sam Jordison.

Mr Jordison, who has never been to Antrim, said that the town suffered from "sectarian troubles" and had been described as being "dangerous".

He said: "I've had a lot of people tweeting about it and agreeing. I've got to accept that people have criticisms of the book but towns also tend to receive nominations for valid reasons.

"To give Antrim its due, a few people have written in and said it's a very attractive town but that's not really what they're writing about and they're troubled about.

"There's obviously problems in Antrim. I get a lot of messages about people being bottled which all sounds pretty unpleasant.

"Obviously it's not the most scientific survey in the world but it's done by public nominations and it's all weighted on the size of the town. Antrim I noticed is quite a small place, but I was getting lots of messages and then you think people really do feel strongly about this and there's obviously problems there.

"I would encourage anybody who disagrees to write into the website and I'll put up their comments and I'm happy to do that."

Alliance councillor Neil Kelly hit back, describing the town as having a "vibrant community".

"Antrim is a fantastic place to live. I was born here and grew up here and challenge the writers to take a tour with me, visiting the town rather than ridiculing from afar," he said.

"Like any other town in the UK, Antrim has its problems, but what sets it apart from other places is the real, genuine, honest people.

"The authors seem to have taken offence at Antrim's housing estates, but there are some great estates in the town. I grew up on the Dublin Road and it was an excellent place to live.

"I also meet many visitors and tourists when I am out and about walking my dogs and I must say they are positive about Antrim and what it has to offer. The area is packed with historic sites and castle grounds and a host of beautiful listed buildings.

"I would lay down a challenge to the authors of this book to come here and let me give them the guided tour to meet local people and see the town for themselves. I would be very surprised it they still held the view that Antrim was as bad as they are trying to make out," he added.

Former Antrim mayor Roy Thompson said the town has a lot to be proud of, such as Antrim Castle Gardens.

"A lot of visitors said they had never seen gardens like it since they were in Buckingham Palace. If that doesn't speak well for Antrim then it's all over," he said.

Croydon, Tottenham, Mayfair and Teddington in London were jointly ranked as the worst towns in the UK in the newest edition.

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