Published Monday, 12 December 2011
For a start you have that elegant Victorian shorefront with its promenade along the lough, then you have the surrounding mountains, the Mournes on one side and the Cooley peninsula on the other and then, of course, there's Carlingford Lough itself.
It was putting on a show for us - glassy surface reflecting a flawless blue sky or else a mysterious mistiness penetrated by shafts of sunlight pouring diamonds into the water.
Any oil painter reaching for his brushes, mind you, would need to be quick on the draw because the whole scene would shift in a couple of minutes.
I think I was on four different vessels out on that lough and not once did the thought of sea-sickness occur, it was so calm. Or maybe it was the calm demeanour of the various people who were unlocking its secrets for me - Peter Conway of the Harbour Authority, Brian Cunningham dredging for mussels on board Celtic Harvester, Barry Fox on the Loughs Agency's floating laboratory the Ostrea and the ship's science officer, Kieran McGonigle whom we promptly dubbed Mr. Spock.
Rarely have I learnt so much in such a short space of time - about the smooth functioning of a major port, or the trials and tribulations of mussel-farming or the ecological impact of all of these activities on a unique environment like Carlingford Lough.
I did spend some time on dry land as well, of course, and high up on the Flagstaff where you get a raven's-eye view of the whole lough, Peter Fitzsymons regaled me with stories of his career at the box factory which has been one of the biggest employers in Warrenpoint for many years.
I also met several generations of the McAnulty family who operate one of the longest established businesses in the area, a business that is pretty much guaranteed to be forever in demand - an undertakers.
For a man who isn't very fond of heights, I seem to have spent a considerable amount of time looking down on Warrenpoint from one lofty perch after another, but one vantage point I was delighted to arrive at, albeit a little out of breath, was the one at the top of one of the towers of Narrow Water Castle in the company of the delightfully down-to-earth lady of the manor, Lisa Hall.