Revealed: Which Northern Ireland town is the capital of crap?
Book brands it Ulster's worst town... but proud locals launch a robust defence
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.