The Queen's Visit

I have to admit that when I first heard that Queen Elizabeth was visiting our country I wasn't really that bothered one way or another. I was a bit more interested in the US Presidential visit which follows in a few days time, given the unexpected enjoyment and boost we recieved when the charismatic Bill Clinton visited our shores some years ago.

You see us Irish are a funny nation. We can be a nation of begrudgers, at times, and we don't really like visting heads of state coming here to tell us how we should run our country. That's perhaps the reason why  Mr Jazzy showed absolutely no interest in the Queen's Visit. That and his distinct dislike for anything that could be considered to be tugging the forelock.

So I wasn't too bothered until she arrived here and then  I slowly became more interested with each passing day.

I was chuffed for a certain little Panto dancer of mine who presented the Queen with a bouquet of flowers on her arrival! Well done R...what a memory to have in later life.

This was a huge, historic visit fraught with potential disasters and multiple faux-pas. Some Irish would never acknowledge the sovreignity of the Queen and indeed there were numerous protests around our capital city. I say 'around' beacause due to intense Garda presence they couldn't get any closer. More about that later.

There is a lot of history between our two nations and most of it not good. Although it is almost 100 years since we declared our Independance it is not that long ago since the Good Friday Agreement was signed. WiiBoy was curious about this and thought that this was not a good time for the Queen to visit. He's not alone in this thought.

They still own some of our country mum, he said.

Yes, yes they do said I

Well, they should give it back first. he replied, with all the authority and innocence of an 11 year old boy!

I tried to explain that some English people live there too.They've lived there for generations and consider Northern Ireland to be part of the UK. We can't just throw them out now, can we? Besides, we can't afford them right now, I thought silently to myself! He thought about what I said but didn't reply . Food for thought no doubt. Whatever any generation feels about the English rule and oppression of the past we have to start the next generation off on a more inclusive footing, I believe. And besides, as Mr Jazzy says, Brian Cowen and his Fianna Fail government have done more to ruin this country  over the last 20 years than the Brits ever did in 700. He has a point...

It was a difficult visit for some Irish people to accept on our shores but I believe it was also a difficult one for the Queen herself. She is an 85 year old lady whom, with her 90 year old husband, had a punishing 4 day schedule which included some astonishing visits to some nationalist memorial  sites.

I watched with avid interest as the Queen of England set foot in Dublin's sacrosanct Garden of Remembrance , a garden that commerates Irish people who have died over the centuries fighting the British for the freedom and Independance we enjoy today. An incredible sight to see her there, respectfully laying a wreath in their memory. A huge, significant moment for which I personally admire her.

She also visited the Irish National War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge where both she and our President lay wreaths in memory of 50,000 Irish men who had died fighting for the Crown in the First World War.

She visited Croke Park, our  hallowed  national sports grounds steeped in  history. This is the site of the original Bloody Sunday, where 14 civilians were shot dead by British forces in 1920. It took incredible strength of spirit and courage  on all sides for this truly historic visit to take place. I have great admiration for all involved and it shows how far both our countries have moved on.

At this stage I was biting at the bit to hear The Queen's Speech. What would she say? Would she be pompous and go around the houses without saying anything of importance? As it happens I missed it but I have seen it on news sites and read a transcript. She had me (and most of the nation) in the palm of her hands with her first 5 words.... in perfectly pronounced Gaeilge. A Uactharain, agus a chairde.... (President and friends) she said. Wow, our President was overheard saying at the first 2 words then Wow again at the last. It was a warm, meaningful and carefully worded speech  which was warmly received.

As I've said earlier this visit was not warmly received by all and there were a number of protests  in Dublin, preceedeed by numerous bomb alerts. Everyone has the right to protest and and to their opinions. I uphold those rights but I abhor those who protest simply to cause trouble. They are no less than thugs in my opinion and they do not represent me or most of this nation. Some threw firecrackers and barriers at the Gardai. The amoeba brain-celled amongst them were even  wearing the jersey of the UK FOOTBALL TEAM they support as they protested against a visit by the English Monarchy! The irony of the situation totally bypassing them

Unfortunately, while we were treated to such amazing images of the visits I describe above some countries were  shown scenes of angry protesters. I am annoyed about that and I do hope that the international media gave a fair representation of this hugely successful visit and took into account that the protestors were in the minority.

This visit cost this financially broke and struggling nation of ours a fortune and I'd hate to think that the actions of the relative few would hinder the potential economic rewards for us all. There are some who believe this visit shouldn't have happened because of the cost. I like to think it was worth it as it puts us firmly and positively on the World's Stage at a crucial time for us economically. 

Ireland  has never looked better in the amazing images I witnessed this week. I only hope that those of you living outside Ireland saw at least some of them.

I hope you saw some of what I describe above.

I hope you saw the amazingly warm, standing ovation she received after the concert at The National Conference Centre last night. It was beaming smiles all round! She seemed to thoroughly enjoy the occasion and the warm, affectionate response that she received.

I hope you saw the amazing and very natural reception she recieved from the people of Cork today when she had her one and only impromtu walk-about amongst the people who were allowed to gather to see her.

Well done to all involved in making this visit such a have done your country a great service. In particular I comment the Gardai and the Defence Forces. You did a fantastic job.

Yes, Ireland did indeed look very well this week and I hope it translates in economic terms. We have amazing sights and are steeped in history. I'm so impressed I'm going to take WiiBoy on a tour of Dublin this forthcoming  summer holidays ... and I live here!

It was an incredible week for Ireland which started with Jedward's amazing performance in last Saturday's Eurovision (we were robbed,  I tell ya, robbed!), followed by The Queen's Visit and will end with the State Funeral of a lovely statesman and ex-senior politician Garret Fitzgerald ,who poignantly passed away the morning after the Queen gave her speech, and another state visit by the US President Barack Obama on Monday. He will no doubt also receive a huge Ceid Mile Failte when he arrives.



  1. Hear, hear! Very well written post. You summed it all up really well. I t was one of those weeks were I just couldn't take my eyes of the news.

  2. How interesting..Sadly, I wouldn't have known about it if I hadn't read it here. Our news is taken up by celebrities..and the "impending rapture" and the war. I usually watch the BBC news to see anything happening outside our country-We are a very self absorbed country and THAT is sad. I'll go look for clips of this visit on the internet. I enjoyed reading your take on it. :)

  3. I'm just really glad it went well. I wasn't sure that it was the right time for the visit, but I felt that once the invitation had been extended it had to be honoured. From the coverage it seems that every last detail was thought of and the organisation of the trip looked very professional. The Queen seemed to impress a lot of people and I'd delighted that she was welcomed - it would have looked terrible otherwise. I'm not so nervous about Obama's visit: it'll be interesting to see if that gets US coverage!

  4. @The mum of all trades: Thank you. I'm glad that you got to see some of the good images!

    @Kathleen:Yes, the US can be quite insular but it it is a very big country! I wonder if you'll be able to follow our President's visit here?! The US Chinook helicopters passed over us yesterday... the CIA have landed!

    @Looking for Blue Sky: No, I'm not as nervous about Obama's visit. The Queen's visit was fraught with historical and political difficulties. There are people who feel she should not be allowed step foot on this soil until they pull out of NI. It's not as simple as that though is it? I am so glad that we could welcome her here so warmly :-)

    Thanks for your comments :-)

    xx Jazzy

  5. Really interesting post - great to hear your take on it...
    Really chuffed that you came over to my blog - and thank you for commenting...
    btw, that dog is gorgeous! He looks like a larger version of the SP (Soul Puppy)... :) Janex

  6. This is a very interesting post. I loved reading a personal opinion after seeing the official reports on the news. I hope Ireland gets some economic benefit out of the visit - that's the least the British monarchy can do for you.

  7. Hi I loved this post. I'm originally from belfast and know exactly where your boy is coming from. but I though that it was fantastic that the visit seemed really well received and she didn't shy away from anything difficult by visiting the places that were necessary. Any bad feeling wasn't widely reported over here and there always will be little break away groups. Great to have an opinion from someone there too. Well said :)

  8. @Exmoorjane:So glad you enjoyed! Glad I found your blog, I will return :-)Thanks for return visit and comment. That's our dog that went missing almost 2 years ago :-(

    @midlifesinglemum:I hope we do too! The Queens historic visit was so important for Anglo-Irish relations too so I hope it impacts on that too. This was the biggest event in a week filled with big events that put us on the world stage. I didn't even mention the UEFA cup final that was held here on Wednesday and Leinster opalyed in a big rugby final today... and won! This is Ireland's week... I hope;-)

    @Mum in meltdown:Thnak you. A younger me would have wholeheartedly agreed with him! With age comes wisdom, understanding and acceptance. it's our duty to pass it on ;-)I think both sides played a blinder on this visit. Te Queen can sometimes come across as a cold person...she was far from that on this visit.

    Sky news were showing the protestors whilst that wonderful, poignant moment was happening in The Garden of Remembrance. Apparently Italian TV showed all the bad stuff too. that really pissed me off and was the catalyst for this post.

    Thank you all so much for your comments... I really value them.

    xx Jazzy

  9. Brilliant post Jazzy :) When I initially heard about the Queens visit, I had NO intention of watching any of the TV coverage and even took to twitter to give out about it - but as time went on, I was strangely intrigued. It was like watching history being made, and when she spoke those few words of Irish - I just thought, my god - look how far we've come. Being honest, I teared up a little bit during her speech. Don't get me wrong - I'm not a fan of the Royals and probably never will be, but I'm so glad that everything went well and I'd like to think that it was a great lesson in building bridges between sometimes troubled neighbours to the rest of the world. President McAleese and everyone involved did us poud, and anyone who was involved in protests failed to realize that any negativity surrounding the visit would reflect only upon us.

    S xxx

  10. Great post!

    It was an amazing few days alright!

    Murray has been full of chat about it all and it was wonderful to see so many people so enthused by it all!

    Looking forward now to Obama tomorrow!

  11. Jazzy, you have expressed exactly how I have felt throughout this visit... from start to finish... Do you have an insight into my heart and mind?

  12. I wish the US media would give some exposure to things going on OUTSIDE the US. I had no idea. I'm glad to hear your take on things as the history and timing make for a delicate balance. Thank you for a great and informative post.

  13. @MissGreenEyes: Thank you:-) I totally agree with all you say here! Those thugs are mostly unemployed I'd say and how this event could turn things qround for them, economically speaking, was another thing that totally bypassed them. Idiots!

    @Clive: Thanks! It was totally amazing wasn't it.. even 'wicked awesome' as Murray hiimself might say!! I do hope tomorrow is a success and that the weather behaves itself! I'm looking forward to Obama coming here!

    @Nan P: Ah Nan... we're 'sisters you and I... 'sisters' ;-)

    @Lizbeth: Thanks Lizbeth. I included the historical bits as I reckoned a lot of my non-Irish readers wouldn't 'get' just how significant this visit was.

    Thank you all SO much for your kind comments :-)

    xx Jazzy

  14. I'll admit to being less than aware of the complexities of Irish and British history. (I might assume you know only a bit more than a coon skin cap about Texas history, too?) Thank you for this post as it gives an understandable representation of the meaning of the Queen's visit - which I did not see on the news here but I mostly derive 'news' from reading an actual newspaper. (Yes, I am that old-fashioned!)


  15. @TherExtras: Hey, I don't even know what a coon skin cap is,much less about Texan history!! Nothing like the 'old fashioned way'....although WiiBoy would disagree!

    Thanks for reading and for your comment :-)

    xx Jazzy

  16. Hint: search 'Davy Crockett'

    On to read your next post - about the President?



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