Saturday, May 21, 2011

That went well, phew!

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, left Ireland yesterday, and the concensus is that the visit was a huge success. I want to record a few thoughts of my own here:

We expected to welcome her, to give them the Irish Céad Míle Fáilte, but we didn't expect to fall in love with her. But, if the papers (and my friends!) are anything to go by, that is exactly what happened. We started off thinking she was great, at 85 years of age, to undertake such a visit, but by the end of it, we were charmed, even though she didn't taste our Guinness. Reporters in the Storehouse say that Prince Philip looked longingly at the pint, but didn't partake.
I honestly don't think I've ever seen the Queen laugh as much as in this photo (courtesy of Associated Press). Apparently, Pat O'Connell, the fishmonger, was telling her that he was 30 years married, practically to the day, and the last time he was this nervous was on his wedding day.

In spite of the huge security risks, she looked relaxed and happy to be on Irish soil. And, in spite of the fact that, in Dublin at least, we couldn't get within a few streets of her, again because of the security risks, we felt the impact of her visit all around us. The most important thing was that she would be safe, so we didn't mind not being able to shake the Royal hand.

Looking at this photo of the pair of them, walking across from the helicopter to the Rock of Cashel, I realise that they are old but remarkable people. I have the height of admiration for the fact that they undertook this visit. Their schedule was gruelling, and they must have been exhausted by this stage (day 4), but they never once slumped, in any sense of the word. I don't think I would have had the energy for shaking 170 hands on night 3!

The big losers in all of this were Sinn Féin and those who refused to move on from the past. We don't forget our history, and let's not forget that the Queen's cousin was killed by an IRA bomb, but it's time to create a new history, and that's what happened this week. Led by our wonderful President Mary Mc Aleese, and together with the Queen ,we opened a new chapter.

I felt such a relief when the last day came and went without any incidents, as my biggest worry was that somebody would do something stupid. The Gardai did a fantastic job of keeping trouble-makers at bay, and although there were only a handful of them, they had the potential to cause trouble, throwing bricks and pushing barriers.

So, a momentous week.

And guess who's coming to dinner next week? Barak Obama, with Michelle.

It' just can't get much better, can it?

(all other photos are by Bauer Griffin)


  1. I enjoyed your report of the Queen's visit. Love the picture of her with the fishmonger. She should laugh and smile more often, she is truly beautiful.

  2. God save the Queen indeed. Wonderful lady and what service she has given to her subjects. Shame Prince Philip didn't have a Guinness - he should have. Cheers to both of them. Did you give them a fan fare on your French Horn? LOL.

    As you can see I am back from the dead after having no phone or internet for 10 days.

    I did a short peace about the wedding on my other blog, Platos Procrastinations,

    I think the Royals will have seen the funny video. I know Prince Harry has.

    Nice to pop over again, Eddie

  3. So glad all went well! I am also amazed at how much she does at the age of 85- remarkable!

    Give Michele and our President a hug from me! Lucky ducks getting to visit Ireland!

  4. Glad it all went well. I don't think I've ever seen the Queen looking so happy and relaxed.

    My photography is available for purchase - visit Around the Island Photography and bring home something beautiful today!

  5. Funny, that. I know what their ages are and yet they don't seem so very old to me. You're right about the gruelling schedule. Awful what w expect, isn't it?

    Glad there was no real problem with those who would continue to battle. Happy days!

  6. It's nice to see it went off without a hitch. I love her blue and green hat in that photo.

  7. I loved the green outfits that the Queen wore and the blue hat!
    Glad it all went well without incident.

    We are all guilty of past atrocities that our forefathers committed... but we must now move on in peace.
    Bearing a grudge is like having cancer. it eats you up.
    Get rid of it.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  8. What a beautiful post, I am glad that the visit went so well.
    I have always loved the Queen, I think she represents a true royalty through her behavior and life style.

  9. She's so darn cute! if that's okay to say of a queen :)?!

  10. I've hardly ever seen pictures of her smiling so this is a treat. And hey, she wore a GREEN coat. :)
    One thing I must say is that she is the only lady I know who wears a hat well.