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at four am we piled into the car-myself, my wife and the youngest child-and drove away from our house in Fermanagh. The hedges were dusted with snow-like blossom, and the fields were filled with pillows of mist. The world seemed newly minted that morning.

In Belfast, at the SeaCat terminal, we got into line. A Stena stewardess was checking boarding cards. Men in shiny green football jerseys swaggered past. I paid no attention.

The line rolled forward. We were one from the front, behind a Ford XRi. The driver produced his boarding card and the stewardess bent down to look…

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