This may be the first time a group of Londoners have fled the City to Belfast and felt significantly safer. The reason for this jaunt — my first to “Norn Iron” — was Ruth and Jonny’s wedding. Angie, Rav and I decided to make a long weekend of it, and arranged to meet up with Dave and Chima while out here too. While Angie’s mother is away we have the run of her house (predominantly for sleeping and watching episodes of the massively un-PC Archer late at night).

A damp Friday and Saturday morning fortunately gave way to great weather for the ceremony and reception, the intermittent drizzling being remarkably well-behaved. The very traditional service was conducted in a pretty, rural parish Church a little way outside Lisburn. It was great to see Oli, Paul and Dan cravatted and all looking unusually dapper, as well as a strong contingent of Cambridge friends who made it over.

Following the ceremony we adjourned to the Tap Room at the Hilden Brewery, a beautiful cosy venue in a working brewery with a fantastic restaurant. Al fresco canapés were served while the weather held, before retiring upstairs for the wedding breakfast. The speeches resulted in rapidly accelerating inebriation as our table imposed unfortunate drinking rules that included both the bride and groom’s names, the word “beautiful” and the inevitable joke about Jonny succeeding in arranging a piss-up in a brewery…

So far the remainder of the trip has been spent on the typical excursions to the Bushmills distillery and the Giant’s Causeway, and generally taking in the gorgeous countryside around here. A full set of photos from both the wedding and trip in general will, of course, follow soon.