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Diary of a travel writer

MONDAY: For all the fuss it has created, you would expect the creationist exhibit at the new Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre to be bigger.

Since they installed it, it has made the new centre famous on the internet. It is a 55-second equivocal audio, suggesting "some people around the world and specifically here in Northern Ireland share this perspective".

You wonder why it is there, because the whole debate was summarised neatly in a child-friendly fashion in the previous screen as a debate between clergyman William Richardson and science advocate James Hutton back in the 1780s.

Was the world REALLY created in 4004BC? It was a Provost of Trinity, James Ussher, who first added up all the years in the Bible and asserted it as a fact.

TUESDAY: The glens of Antrim look terrific at this time of year. There are nine big ones, and my favourite is Glendun. I drove from Cushendun under the aqueduct and it was stunning, as always. The day ends with fabulous Guinness onion soup, peppered fillet and sticky toffee pudding at Bushmills Inn.

WEDNESDAY: Adrian Morrow takes me around the garden centre in Glenarm. People pay a fiver to see it, the leading horticultural garden in the north, with a famous 300-year-old hedge and the most famous homegrown figs in Ireland.

It even bred its own potato, the Dunluce spud. It was thought to be extinct but a couple of years ago they found a French enthusiast who had preserved the strain. The Frenchman very kindly allowed them to take some seedlings back to Glenarm and, a few months later, they gathered expectantly to tuck into the fruit of Antrim ingenuity. It tasted like soap. "We thanked the Frenchman very nicely for his kindness," says Adrian. "And that was that."

THURSDAY: "If you are thinking of a kitchen floor, use basalt flags. They last about 400 years," Dunluce tour guide Hazel Porter tells us. We are, indeed, standing on amazingly hard- wearing stuff, the bit of the kitchen that didn't fall into the sink. Great views, great location, pity about the disappearing dinner.

FRIDAY: Members of the European Regional Airlines Association are in Dublin for their annual awards and conference. Padraig O Ceidigh breezes into the press room, tiarnach aerach of all he surveys. By midday, I have heard more about engines than I ever need to know. Wideroe won the Airline of the Year award, Estonian Air was second and Atlantic was third.

SATURDAY: A family gathering to christen my grand-nephew Sean. The ceremony is in Swedish, English, Irish and several other languages I cannot identify.

SUNDAY: Up early for flight FR7157 to Santander. The Spaniards have been giving Ryanair a hard time about fuel loads recently, but this one passes without incident.


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