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  • The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. Marcel Proust
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Travel to Holywood, Northern Ireland

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Found on the shore of Belfast Lough, between Belfast and Bangor, is the town of Holywood. Pronounced the same as Hollywood, this County Down town is known for its annual jazz and blues festival, its many fashion boutiques and its arts and crafts creations. It is also a popular destination for sea bathers. The town’s name comes from the Latin ‘Sanctus Boscus,’ which means ‘holy wood’ and refers to the woodland surrounding the monastery of Saint Laiseran, the son of Nasca. Other ancient connections the town has are the Old Priory, whose ruins date from the early 13th century — the tower dates from 1800. A number of distinguished people are buried in the Priory’s graveyard, such as Robert Lloyd Praeger, the famous botanist, and his sister Rosamond Praeger, the sculptor and writer. One of her sculptures is located in the town. The town is also known for its maypole in the centre of the town, at the crossroads. Its origins are not known, but it is said to have been erected around 1700 following the running aground of a Dutch ship on the nearby coast. Visitors to the town should also pop into the Maypole Bar, which is known locally as Carty’s or Ned’s. It is also recommended to travel a short distance to the The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.