Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Well it is pretty impossible to ignore it: Queen Elizabeth II is in Ireland.
Hard to imagine a cute little 85 year old woman could cause so much commotion, but she has certainly stirred up emotion on the island.
Has the visit come to soon?
Have we fully recovered from the wounds of British occupation?
Can we afford the massive security for the visit?
Do we care?
Well the one question I can answer factually is that indeed we do care, despite the differing opinions of the above issues, on Tuesday, May 17 everyone paid attention to the news, the first shake hands between the Queen and Irish President Mary McAleese was watched with bated breath around the world as well as in every home and office in Ireland.
President Mary McAleese with Queen Elizabeth II
No matter what our views, this shake hands on Irish soil was monumental.
Later on, the Irish nation watched with disbelief as the head of the British Monarch laid a wreath at the Irish Garden of Remembrance, the burial site of those who fought for Irish Freedom from the British.
Again whether you agree or disagree with the event, it was venerable and significant, the picture of the Queen's head bowed beside the wreath as the band played 'Amhrain na BhFiann' was emotional for some, sickening for others, but indeed a massive event in Anglo- Irish history.
1,200 international media are in Ireland this week, I am sure much of them will prolong their stay for the American President Barack Obama's visit next week.
Again this visit is costing the Irish state million of euros that we all know we simply don't have (especially since security has been kicked up a notch since the killing of Osama Bin Laden).
The Obama's visit will be epic, it will hopefully secure the long historic link between this small island and the great US nation.
American President Barack Obama
These two huge state events follow on from visits from the Dalia Lama and Prince Albert of Monaco as well as the expected visit from the Roman Catholic Pope Benedict next year.
Images of this beautiful island will be beamed around the world and can only do positive things for our international image with the hope of attracting tourists, business and interest to this country.
Currently Ireland is in a terrible state, we have taken an IMF bail out, our unemployment levels are through the roof, our health system is in tatters and our general spirit is at rock bottom.
But if we Irish are good at anything, it is holding our heads up, shaking off our shackles and with a bit humour and good fun lifting ourselves up and getting on with it!
We are a charming bunch who certainly know how to have a good time, this is our time to shine, to show the world that we may be down but we will not be forgotten.

Céad Míle Fáilte Rómhat go hÉirinn.

1 comment:

  1. Just to add that the Irish President Mary McAleese and Queen Elizabeth II gave two amazing speeches at Dublin Castle last night. Emotional and poignant.