Belfast Telegraph

Seven Wonders of Northern Ireland: A floating melody

Day five of our series on places and people making Northern Ireland unique

Barry Douglas (51) is an internationally acclaimed classical pianist, conductor and founder of Camerata Ireland.

He divides his time between Paris and Lurgan. He was awarded an OBE in 2002 for services to music.

“The place that sums up Northern Ireland for me is Lough Neagh as we have a house nearby and my sons are now getting into fishing there.

“We love the strange and wonderful fish you find there, although my interest in the fish begins when it appears in the restaurant!

“But musically, despite the fact Ireland and Northern Ireland are not well funded and do not have academies, when you see what we achieve in regards to rock, jazz, traditional and classical music, it is quite amazing.

“We all know who has gained fame and success but there is something about the Northern Irish character — a kind of driven quality that may be the Scottish influence — that in spite of past conflict produces culture and music.

“In these six counties there is something in the genes which creates a passion for everything that is artistic.

“Although I am involved with classical music and return each summer for the Clandeboye Festival, I have played with The Chieftains in the past.

“I regret that I’m not here often enough to go to many traditional concerts.

“On that scene, I think flautist Eimear McKeown is brilliant and Jonathan Toman is awonderful guitarist.”

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

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