Things I miss ( and some I don’t ) from home – Belfast
Ok so here’s a list of things I love and miss from home , food and drink I grew up with which are still firm favorites and will be known to all Belfast/Northern Ireland folk the world over. And the good news is you can actually order some of these iconic foods online , including Veg Roll ( who knew ) , Dulse and my fav Tayto Cheese and Onion. So if you have a husband or wife originally from Belfast/Norther Ireland you could bring a smile to their face and the taste of childhood memories. See individual listings for order details were available.
Having just returned from a trip home, working on my forthcoming book and taking in the glorious 12th whilst there I’ve feasted on many of these childhood favorites and so I’m not missing them as much as usual, but give it a few weeks/months and I’d sell my granny for a Pastie Supper from Beatties on the Shankill after a few jar in The Royal or Blues.
The list is a work in progress, so if you notice something missing please email me, leave a comment below or send me a Tweet .
And a MASSIVE BIG thank you to all my Twitter friends whom helped me compile the list and offered many comments and suggestion along the way – I couldn’t have done it without you guys helping me – so Thank You All.
Barmbrack is a yeasted bread with added sultanas and raisins and has long been a favorite of Northern Ireland folk.
It is usually sold in flattened rounds and served toasted with butter. The dough is sweeter than sandwich bread, but not as rich as cake, and the sultanas and raisins add flavour and texture to the final product.
I loved this toasted when I was younger , the smell of hot sultanas and raisins was to die for.
Cook it at home : Barmbrack Recipe
Although beef sausages are available all over the UK the ones from Belfast and my childhood remain a firm favorite and no Ulster Fry is complete without one or two in my humble opinion. I do love a sausage now and again , but I’m very fussy and only eat the top brands or those infused with herbs. cheese , onions, peppers or spices etc . But given a choice I would give them all up for one from home.
Big, crusty bread famed throughout Northern Ireland and Belfast the stuff of legends and a firm favorite for generations of Norm Iron folk.
Often split in the middle and stuffed full of any filling you like , a pastie, crisps or some folk like Dulse in them, but that’s just wrong in my book.
Brown Lemonade is a brown coloured lemonade flavoured fizzy soft drink sold in Northern Ireland. It is made by companies such as Cantrell & Cochrane (C&C) and by Maine.
When I first moved to London and went drinking in the bars and clubs I couldn’t believe that none of them sold or had heard of brown Lemonade. Grrrr……..
Link to : Brown Lemonade – Stujak Blog
Brandy Balls, a traditional Irish hard boiled sweet, with a sweet brandy hint about them and a taste that transports me back to 1970’s Belfast.
My granddad always seemed to have an endless supply of these in his “magic ” pockets , which held all sorts of weird and wonderful things he would randomly produce. Looking back I think he sucked them so me Granny wouldn’t smell the smoke on him & as he was supposed to have stopped and he’d get a telling off.
Buckfast Tonic Wine is a caffeinated fortified wine originally made by monks at Buckfast Abbey in Devon, England, now made under a licence granted by the monastery, and distributed by J. Chandler & Company in the United Kingdom and Richmond Marketing Ltd in Ireland.
This stuff is legendary and splits the crowd big style. I’d drank it when I was younger back in Belfast , but had not had it in ages. So whilst I was home ( working on my book & taking in the 12th 2019 ) I decided to try a bottle, small to be fair. But I’d been on the Shankill drinking all day and by the time I drank it , mid afternoon I was already pissed outta my head. To be fair i had drank about 15 pints of Harp & countless Gin n Tonics. Anyways I lost a few hours of my life and had little memory of what i got up to during this sad period. Ive been informed that I was drinking like there was no tomorrow in the Royal, The Blues and various other pubs in and around the Shankill. How I managed to stay conscious long enough to watch the Bonfires is a mystery, but I did have a monster hangover whilst watching the bands on the 12th
See my Tweet below , posted whilst I could still stand, just .
NEVER again !!
English People Try Buckfast For The First Time
Club is the brand name for a series of Irish carbonated soft drinks produced in Ireland by Britvic Ireland and previously by Cantrell & Cochrane (C&C). It is bottled by the Britvic plant in Dublin. The series includes Club Orange, Club Lemon, Club Rock Shandy (a mixture of the orange and lemon flavours) and Club Apple soft drinks.
Club Orange, an orange flavoured carbonated drink, was the first orange fruit juice to appear on the Irish market. It was launched in the late 1930s, with the formula refined since then to its present state. The name Club derives from the Kildare Street Club in Dublin, which commissioned C&C to make an orange-flavoured drink. In 1960, Club Lemon was introduced as a sister product, and in the 2000s several other flavours were added to the range.
In 2004 C&C relaunched Club Lemon, which now also contains vesicles. Over the years a number of drinks have appeared under the Club label, including Club Orange and Cranberry, Club Berry, and Club Apple. Diet and sugar free versions were also produced.
Not a lot I can say about this apart from it was a childhood favorite and there were always a few bottles lurking about in the cupboard or fridge at home. Its got a unique flavor that I’ve never tasted in an fizzy orange drink elsewhere in the world!
Champ is an Irish dish, made by combining mashed potatoes and chopped scallions with butter, milk and optionally, salt and pepper. As recently as the mid-20th century it was sometimes made with stinging nettle rather than scallions but this is rarely seen now
I never liked this for some reason and when my wee granny use to make it when I was a kid in Glencairn back in the early 70’s I’d wait until she’d left the room and then throw it in the bin or dog, whichever was closer. My wee granny wasn’t the kind of person to take cheek from a nipper like me and i’d have been in trouble if I’d complaint about the food. Plus i loved her and didn’t want to hurt her feelings.
Link to : Easy Traditional Irish Champ
Cowboy supper (plural cowboy suppers). (Northern Ireland ) A meal of sausages, baked beans, and chips or mashed potatoes.
Ok this one’s not strictly traditional Northern Ireland cuisine but once again a firm childhood favorite and a treat on a Friday night when me Da got paid. Once again plastered in HP sauce and a Belfast Bap to make a piece ( Northern Ireland slang for sandwich ) beans and all!
The wife often makes it now, but with posh sausages , caramelized onions , mash and she tries to get me to have it with carrots or some other veg, but sometimes I rebel and much to the amusement of her and the kids I insist on having it with beans ,the taste of my childhood
Dulse (Palmaria Palmata) is a wild seaweed that grows on the North Atlantic coast of Britain. Its Gaelic name is duileasg, and the fronds are long and membranous with a dark reddish-purple translucent hue. It formed part of a regular diet for coastal-dwelling communities in Scotland and Northern Ireland for centuries, as it is highly rich in vitamins and minerals, and a good source of protein. It is a very versatile ingredient; it can be eaten raw, having a salty flavour and chewy texture, like a natural chewing gum. It can also be dried and consumed as a snack or added to broths and stews to enhance the flavour and act as a thickener. It can be boiled for several hours into a pulp which has a porridge-like consistenc
Always loved this as a child growing up in Belfast and it was one of my favourite childhood snacks. We use to get it in Bangor , Millisle and Donaghadee and it was served in a small white paper bag and fresh from the sea, covered in dry salt. My mum and many others would make a sandwich (piece in Northern Ireland slang ) and eat it like this, but I thought that was gross !
Nowadays it seems harder to come across and it just doesn’t taste as good as what I remember.
Travel Bloggers Eat Dulse For the First Time
You can order it here : Get some Dulse delivered straight to your door
Guinness is a dark Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness at St. James’s Gate, Dublin, Ireland, in 1759. It is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide, brewed in almost 50 countries, and available in over 120.
Now I know its controversial, an Irish man not liking the the “ Black Stuff”, but I have a good excuse , trust me!
When I was in my teens my granda use to take me down the Woodvale/Shankill whilst he put a few bets on the horses and watched the results as he supped a few beers in the bars. I was always given a coke and told to be quiet whilst he watched ( and lost on ) the races. As I got a bit older I kept on and on at him to let me have a “real” drink and so one day in order to shut me up he got me a half pint of Guinness . One sip and I hated it, but he insisted I drank the lot and I was sick as dog afterwards.
So that’s why I can’t stand the “Back Stuff “
The perfect pint of Guinness
Harp Lager is an Irish lager created in 1960 by Guinness in its Great Northern Brewery, Dundalk. It is a major lager brand throughout most of the North of Ireland, but is a minor lager brand in the rest of the Republic.
What can I say apart from the taste of Belfast in a glass. The crowd is split on this one, but I’ve always enjoyed it and any time I’m home it’s my drink of choice , apart from gin off course
A pint of Harp and packet of dates please Harp Lager TV Ad 1992
Irish stew is any variety of meat and root vegetable stew native to Ireland. As in all traditional folk dishes, the exact recipe is not consistent from time to time, or place to place. Common ingredients include lamb, or mutton, as well as potatoes, onions, and parsley. It may sometimes also include carrots.
In recent years Ive perfected a recipe that uses lamb on the bone and I gotta say its to die for. But when I was a kid in Belfast my family use to make in with mince meat ( we couldn’t afford real lamb ) , loads of spuds, onion, carrots and thickened it up with gravy. A big bit of bread ( Belfast Bap ) and HP brown sauce made it a winter favourite that would leave me stuffed and needing a wee lay down on the sofa.
Link to: Irish Stew recipe
Link to: How to cook the perfect Irish stew
Maine Sarsaparilla – For over 65 years The Maine Man has continued the tradition of delivering quality soft drinks to our doorsteps.
Families throughout Northern Ireland have fond memories of regular weekly orders of their favourite flavours such as Sarsaparilla, American Cream Soda, Pineappleade and Cloudy Lime in glass returnable bottles.
Practically everyone who grew up in Northern Ireland remembers the Maine mineral van coming with a crate of goodies every week. Flavours like Sarsaparilla, Pineappleade and American Cream Soda came in glass bottles which were returned empty and new ones replaced them.
It all began when the Harkness family established a soft drinks business, Braid Mineral Water Co., in Ballymena in 1919. The founder’s son, John Harkness, decided to branch out on his own in 1949 and formed Maine Soft Drinks. In 1959 the business relocated to its current premises in Ballymoney.
The company is still owned by the Harkness family and is now into its 4th generation.
It has expanded and branched out in different ways including supplying to supermarkets and contract bottling. They are also exporting to various companies on the UK mainland. Regardless of expansion the doorstep delivery side of the business is still very important, with more than 40,000 homes supplied on a weekly / fortnightly basis.
Maine Soft Drinks employs more than 100 people, half of which are based in Ballymoney and the other half spread throughout Northern Ireland in depots located in Lurgan, Belfast and Derry-Londonderry.
What can I say apart from this is another childhood favorite and I loved all their drinks especially Cream Soda, Pineappleade and Cloudy Lime , which in my book all have a unique flavor I’ve never come across before throughout my 30 years of living in the land of the English. And having it delivered straight to your door was an added bonus.
Link to : Maine Soft Drinks Website
Nambarrie was launched back in 1860 and for over 150 years has been our wee country’s beloved bold and hearty tea that can be relied on for the perfect cuppa at any time of the day.
Nambarrie is the brand name of a tea company based in Andover, Hampshire, now owned by Twinings. Nambarrie Tea Co. Ltd. now operates delivery depots in Mallusk, County Antrim and Glasgow, being the third biggest brand in Scotland
On 10, April 2008 Nambarrie announced its plans to close its factory in Belfast. The factory is now closed and production currently takes place in England. The signage at the Belfast Nambarrie factory is still attached, however the building is now disused and has since fallen into disrepair.
Writer and comedian Will Self is a self-confessed fan of Nambarrie.
This was the only tea served in our house when I was a kid and has a very distinct strong taste that lingers on the palette . great for dipping Rich Tea biscuits in and the odd Hob Nob. The wife doesn’t like it so we have “English” breakfast tea at home, which is ok to be fair, but not the taste of my childhood. When I’m back in Belfast , tucking into an Ulster fry or Pastie Supper I always have a big mug of this on the side, with two sugars , sometimes three if I’m feeling rebellious . Don’t tell the wife though , she’s got me on sweeteners at home !
Nambarrie TV Advert
Pastie Supper/ Pastie Bap
Pastie Supper – A pastie /ˈpæstiː/ is a large to medium-sized round battered pie common to Northern Ireland. Generally served with chips to form a “pastie supper” (“supper” in Northern Irish chip shops meaning something with chips), or in a bread roll as a “pastie bap”, it is a common staple in most fish and chip shops in the country.
Recipes vary, but the most common ingredients are minced pork, onion, potato and seasoning formed into a “round” (just like a burger) which is then covered in a batter mix and deep fried. Traditionally, chip shops coloured the pastie’s filling with a cochineal dye, giving it a bright pink colour, supposedly to make the snack more appetising. Many shops have stopped using this method due to cochineal allergies.
Another taste from home that I yearn for after a beer or six. Although the crowd is split on this I’ve always preferred the pink ones
This is one of the things I miss most about Belfast, the good old Pastie supper, preferably from Beatties on the Shankill. When I first moved to London after a skin full of beer one day I went into the local chippy and tried to order a Pastie Supper. To my absolute horror and continuing disappointment they hadn’t a clue what I was talking about and tried to give me everything from Jamaican Patti to a plastic bag and some very funny looks.
Grrr…… I was gutted
Thrush and Jen challenge. Join us as we make Belfast pastie baps
A pig’s trotter, also known as a pettitoe, is the culinary term used to refer to the foot of a pig. The cuts are used in various dishes around the world, and experienced a resurgence in the late 2000s. Before sale, the trotters are cleaned and typically have the hairs pulled with a hot tank and beaters.
They are often used in cooking to make stocks, as they add thickness to gravy, although they are also served as a normal cut of meat.
Back in the early 70’s my Da use to bring these home from work every Friday night and I use to love them, although sometimes they still had hair on them and that was kinda gross to say the least, but didn’t put me of eating them. These days I wouldn’t touch one with a barge pole , but they bring back memories of my beloved dad and therefore will always be special to me.
Plain Bread , preferably O’Hara’s – O’Hara’s Plain Bread is a batch bread made in a large baking tray, which means the loaves only form a crust on the top and bottom. it differs from a pan loaf, which is baked in an individual tray and so forms crust round the whole bread. I know the picture is Sunblest , but I couldn’t find a picture of an O’Hara’s one ! If you have one please send it over.
Another thing I really miss from home is plain bread. Nothing tastes better toasted or fried and the crust is always the best bit. I can’t understand why they don’t sell/make it in England .
If they do , where please ?
Potato bread is a form of bread in which potato flour or potato replaces a portion of the regular wheat flour. It is cooked in a variety of ways, including baking it on a hot griddle or pan, or in an oven. We fry it in our family as most others in Northern Ireland do.
This is as iconic as its possible to be when talking about food from Belfast / Northern Ireland. A must have in every Ulster Fry , best served fried in a shallow pan with loads of oil , although some folk like them toasted and covered in butter, my wee granny use to love these served that way. Nowadays its readily available in most of the big UK supermarkets, but it’s just not the same as back home and the taste of my childhood O’Hara’s . Although I do buy and eat it in England , its always a bit of a disappointment.
Also known as Tattie Scone to our friends from Caledonia . I ran a poll on Twitter last year and had over 25,000 votes (see below) and surprisingly Tattie Scone came up tops by a vast margin. I can only assume more Scottish folk responded as its clearly “ Potato Bread “ to most folk in Belfast /Northern Ireland .
Recipe from Ulster Folk Museum
Shandy Bass is a 0.5% ABV shandy made with Bass beer and lemonade Introduced in 1972, it is made by Britvic.
When I was 12/13 me and my cousin Wee Sam were given a tin of this each ( or did we steal it ? I can’t remember) on the 11th of July. It was the first time I recall drinking alcohol ( I know ) and we were both pissed as a newt, or acted as if we were anyways and we sang and dance to all night long until me granny came and dragged us of to bed. Innocent days I’ll never forget.
Funny Drunk People Compilation
Soda bread is a variety of quick bread traditionally made in a variety of cuisines in which sodium bicarbonate (otherwise known as “baking soda”, or in Ireland, “bread soda”) is used as a leavening agent instead of the traditional yeast. The ingredients of traditional soda bread are flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. The buttermilk in the dough contains lactic acid, which reacts with the baking soda to form tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide. Other ingredients can be added such as butter, egg, raisins, or nuts. An advantage of quick breads is their ability to be prepared quickly and reliably, without requiring the time-consuming skilled labor and temperature control needed for traditional yeast breads.
Another icon of Northern Ireland foods and star of any Ulster Fry. Like the good old potato bread it can be served toasted or fried and like most of my peers I love it well fried with the yoke of a runny fried egg running all over and soaking into it.
Link to: BBC Irish soda bread recipe
Link to youtube : How to make a very quick and easy Irish Soda bread.
Preferably from O’Hara’s back in the day.
A kind of round bun , dense sponge covered in coconut flakes and held together with icing sugar in the middle.
I loved these as a kid and when I started secondary School, Cairnmartin Ballygomartin , after the bell went I would hang about out side the O’Hara’s at the bottom of Glencairn in the hope that there would be some cheap cakes/buns left over before closing, which they always sold at a knockdown price to get rid of them. If I was lucky there would be a few snowballs on offer , which I loved pulling apart and licking the icing suger from the middle and dunking some in my after school cup of Nambarries tea. Heaven ! They are very popular in Scotland also, but there not the same as the Belfast ones of my childhood.
Steakette – Is kind of like a hamburger coated in batter and deep fried in oil.
Not for the faint hearted – These are another favorite of mine and when I’m home and on the beer I head straight for Beatties if I’m on the Shankill and get one. Last time I was home I order a Pastie & Steakette in one sitting and I gotta say they booth went down well. They are normally swimming in fat and grease, but I love them just like that ( don’t tell the wife ) smothered with loads of salt and vinegar. Yum Yum
Tayto Cheese and Onion
Set deep in the heart of the Ulster countryside in Tandragee is Tayto Castle where Tayto crisps and snacks have been made for the past 60 years. A ‘Taste of Home’ our products have been a big part of growing up in Northern Ireland.
Established in 1956 and still owned by the same family – the Hutchinsons, we pride ourselves in employing local people and using local ingredients and materials to produce great tasting crisps and snacks for everyone to enjoy. In our 60th year, we are also proud to support Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016.
Within the Castle is a closely guarded room where the unique Tayto Cheese & Onion flavour is made to the same recipe as it has for the last 60 years. Only a very select few know the secret recipe which has been carefully passed down to the current day.
Come and visit us at Tayto Castle to see for yourself how our crisps and snacks are made and meet our very own Mr.Tayto – why not book a tour today?’
Another of the things I miss most from home and something I always stock up on when visiting Belfast. My daughter orders me a box for Xmas, which was very thoughtful of her. But the problem was they came from the Tayto brand in Ireland (ROI) , in an insulting blue packet, lol. They just aren’t the same as the ones I still love and crave since childhood.
You can order them here and I believe they do international delivery : Follow this link to order
Link to: Book a tour here
Tennents is the most popular draught lager beer in Northern Ireland, according to the latest research. 2007It was piloted in Northern Ireland before being rolled out across the rest of the UK.
Tennents lager was produced by the Bass Brewery on the Glen Road in west Belfast until a cutback in 2003.
Now it comes from the Wellpark Brewery in Glasgow, but the company, owned by Belgian group InBev, still has a warehouse and logistics operation in Belfast.
A specific draught is brewed for Northern Ireland with an alcohol volume of 3.7% compared with the 4.1% Scottish drinkers buy as research has shown it to be what local consumers want.
Another iconic Northern Ireland ( and Scotland ) drink from my childhood in Belfast and one which cause much uproar and debate, regarding the sexy ladies on the them. You’d never get away with that now ! I remember my Da and uncles having card schools and drinking vast amounts of this stuff and me and my brothers,cousins always had a good wee look at the ladies on the tin and we all had our favorites. For the record my favorite was Linda
Link to survey in Belfast telegraph
The best known traditional dish in Northern Ireland is the Ulster fry. An Ulster fry, although not originally particularly associated with breakfast time, has in recent decades been marketed as Northern Ireland’s version of a cooked breakfast. It is distinguishable from a full breakfast by its griddle breads – soda bread and potato bread, fried (or occasionally grilled) until crisp and golden. Sometimes also including small pancakes. Bacon, sausages, an egg, and (as a modern development) tomato and sometimes mushrooms complete the dish It is usually served with tea and toast.
This is a the king of Northern Ireland foods and has been enjoyed for generations of folk from Belfast and throughout the six counties since time began, relatively speaking . It will satisfy any hunger or cure any hangover and is served with an array of tasty N.I things , depending on your preference , including fried eggs, the all important fried potato and soda bread, perfect pork sausages or beef sausages in my house , crispy bacon, black and white pudding ( optional ) and a few slices of Veg Roll (always in my house ) and a mug of strong sweet tea to wash it all down.
With or without Beans?
That is the question – OK I’m going to get slated for this, but I always have beans with an Ulster Fry, blame my English wife for teaching me bad habits. HP sauce is also a must
Ulster Fry Up: Full Northern Irish Breakfast in Belfast, Ireland
Link to : Is the Ulster fry best in UK
Veda bread is a malted bread sold in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland . It is a small, caramel-coloured loaf with a very soft consistency when fresh. Allied Bakeries Ireland (ABI) is the market leader with over 81 per cent value share of the Veda market within Northern Ireland, which it sells as “Sunblest Veda”.
Stylish Belfast city centre hotel Malmaison has teamed up with Northern Ireland’s biggest bakery Allied Bakeries Ireland (ABI) to serve up one of the Province’s best loved bread brands to residents and customers.
Veda bread, while very much a Scottish invention, has become a Northern Ireland phenomenon since Allied Bakeries Ireland launched its first Veda loaf back in 1930 and continues to grow from strength to strength.
Sunblest Veda, launched in 1956, is the market leader with over 81 per cent value share of the Veda market within Northern Ireland and an established local favourite.
I love this toasted and its smells amazing when covered in butter and eaten whilst still hot. we always had this in the cupboard at home and whenever there was nought else to eat this always filled a hole.
Vegetable Roll is a uniquely Northern Irish delicacy, made up of cuts of lean beef and seasoned with fresh herbs and vegetables such as leeks and onions.
Always served with an Ulster Fry in my family and controversially we always kept the plastic cover on whilst cooking, although take it off before eating , if I’m sober at least ! In another of those little Northern Irish things that make my England friend laugh, its as far from being “vegetable “ as can be. I think it just makes us feel we’re getting one of our five a day as it has ” vegetable ” in it. LOL
You can order it here: Home Butchers Northern Ireland
Twitter : @meatdelivered They deliver Veg roll folks !!!
A traditional soup made by my parents and grandparents and a traditional winter soup in Northern Ireland and especially popular served as a starter to Christmas dinner. Pure, simple, wholesome comforting and natural food. As with all one pot dishes, it always tastes better the following day when all the ingredients have had time to marinate and got to know each other so if you want to impress, make it the day before serving.
Another classic I love and miss from home and I have never had this outside Belfast or a soup taht tasted anything like it. It’s common to cook it with a whole chicken (I know ) or shin bone and this is often removed and stripped before being eaten, my family use to leave it in.
Once my veggie sister in law was half way through a bowl before anyone had the heart to tell her it was made with a chicken involved.
An edible sea snail – The common periwinkle or winkle (Littorina littorea) is a species of small edible whelk or sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusc that has gills and an operculum, and is classified within the family Littorinidae, the periwinkles.
This is a robust intertidal species with a dark and sometimes banded shell. It is native to the rocky shores of the northeastern, and introduced to the northwestern, Atlantic Ocean.
The common periwinkle is sold by fishmongers at seafood markets in large cities around the world, and is also commonly found in seafood restaurants as an appetizer or as a part of a seafood platter. In some countries, pubs may serve periwinkles as a snack.
Most of the volume fished, is consumed by France, Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands.
I loved these as a child and we use to go round the coast of Antrim and beyond collecting, cooking and eating. We’d spend ages boiling them and when they were cooked we would all gather round, with a pin in hand, to pick the eyes out and tuck in. A taste and smell that always brings me back to my childhood.
Once I was in a French restaurant with the wife and she ordered snails ( Escargots ) and I had the cheek to turn my nose up. Hee hee , The contradiction was not lost on me, but Willicks are just one of those things that I was raised eating/liking and was way more civilized than eating slimy French snails in my book. LOL
Belfast Granny just won’t let him cook his Willicks in her home.
Other things Northern Ireland folk grew up with and love and know know
- Caramel Squares
- Dale Farm ice-creams
- Golden Cow Butter
- Gravy Ring
- Moy Park Chicken
- Portavogie prawns
- Yellow Man
See: The Loyalist Mod
And don’t forget to check out my homepage and read extracts from my forthcoming autobiography: Belfast Child