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)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wonderful Day!

Céad Míle Fáilte to Queen Elizabeth 11 and the Duke of Edinburgh.

I think it's a wonderful day for both countries, and hope it will be the start of a new future for us as neighbours. I think, in all the photos I've seen, the Queen is smiling broadly and looks really, genuinely happy to be here.

Some think it's too early in the "peace process" for this visit- I disagree. I think Queen Elizabeth is very brave to undertake it, and I think we should welcome her with open arms. I commend our President, Mary Mc Aleese, and her husband Dr. Martin Mc Aleese, who have worked so hard building bridges towards peace on this island.

A tiny minority set out to cause trouble, but so far, the Gardai have done a fantastic job of keeping them at bay. They do not represent the majority, who fully support this visit.

Even though people will not get to shake hands with Her Majesty, because of stringent security precautions, everyone I know is delighted with this visit. The most important thing is that it is taking place, and that our visitors are safe and enjoy their first visit. We're happy to wait till next time, or another time, for the hand-shaking.

And finally, I'm very late with this, but I also want to say that I really enjoyed watching this beautiful couple!

(photo from Daily Mail)

I loved the pomp, ceremony, fashion (though not some of the hats).

Most of all, I loved that Kate Middleton did her own make-up!

On her wedding day! even I didn't do that, and I had only a handful of people watching me, not 2 billion! She definitely won me over with that act!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers' Day

Hope you all have a rockin' and rollin' day! And that you get spoiled , really spoiled.

Sorry I've been MIA recently, I'm doing my Horn Grade 7 exam tomorrow morning (yes! on a Sunday!!), and it's been a lot of work. Loving it, but it takes up a lot of time.

Back soon...