Tripadvisor reviews: There's no pleasing some people
The first time I saw Bondi Beach my precise words were: "Is that it?". And not in a good way...
Having grown up with the superb Benone as standard for what constitutes a fine beach I was expecting the legendary Bondi to be a bit...well...bigger.
Then again as I quickly accepted, the whole point of Bondi is that it's Bondi. In the same way that Egypt's Pyramids are not exactly in the entirely secluded setting you always imagined. And the Mona Lisa in the Louvre in Paris is the size of a good postcard.
The Giant's Causeway just a pile of rocks? Well, actually that's precisely what they are. In the same way that Uluru in Australia is just one big rock. But to refer to the latter as such is to dismiss its majesty, mystic appeal and cultural significance to the aboriginal people. While to refer to the former in entirely granite terms is to overlook the construction skills of F McCool and Co, Giant Builders.
Seen one cave, seen 'em all? You could use that putdown for just about any natural wonder. And actually it tells us a whole lot more about the reviewer than the Marble Arches.
Tripadvisor in the hands of the constructive is a handy tool for the traveller. But it also provides open shoot for the moronic and sometimes even the deliberately spiteful. To use it wisely you've got to keep a weather eye out for the plonker who is never really going to be impressed by anything outside of the Magic Kingdom.
Criticism of poor service is generally a bit more serious. But it seems to be coming here from the same reviewers who haven't a good thing to say about anything.
Northern Ireland's tourism industry is just taking off. We still have some way to go. We all accept we have lessons to learn. Tour guides and resort workers are often young students on summer jobs - not polished professionals. But we are getting there.
And we have so many glories to show off here. The warmth and friendliest of locals foremost among our tourist attractions. We have history, natural wonders, fabulous scenery and now even Game of Thrones.
But there's no pleasing some people.
I remember once reading a Tripadvisor review of a Vietnamese hotel. An American visitor ripped it apart giving it zilch in just about every category. His main bone of contention? Staff had folded his hand towel into a bird shape. A bit naff maybe. But hardly a reason to stay clear.
What was it your man once said about the Giant's Causeway? Worth seeing. Not worth going to see. What we need to keep in mind though is that these things are subjective. Tripadvisor. Worth reading. Not worth taking too seriously.