Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Queen in the Republic

Two weeks ago (I'm a little behind, forgive me) Queen Elizabeth II came to visit Ireland.  As she does her fair share of international outings, this might seem quite ordinary, but it was anything but.  Given Anglo-Irish history, it really was quite something to see our President McAleese and Queen Elizabeth meeting together as, in the words of her majesty, "firm friends and equal partners".  It was moving and, I think, much needed to see the Queen and Prince Phillip paying their respects to those who died fighting for Irish freedom in The Garden of Remembrance and the Irish War Memorial, and at Croke Park to pay respects to the victims of Bloody Sunday.  It was a visit that I'm sure many of our older generation never thought they'd see.  The first visit of a British Monarch to the Irish Republic, and so soon - when you think about it - after all the trouble and hate and violence of past decades.  There are still very raw wounds but it's my hope that this has helped heal them.  She even made a very well received cúpla focal as Gaeilge to open her speech at the state dinner.  It was quite something to watch.

I'm sure you must have seen some coverage of this visit wherever you are in the world, but in case you missed it, I'll let you enjoy some photos of her visit (and I might even comment on her outfits as we go along...would you expect anything else?!):

Preparations for the visit were "mighty" (as they'd say in the 'Wesht')....

Garda, garda everywhere....
There were the expected protests..
...but our Gardai were out in full force.

They were all preparing for this moment:
Arriving at Dublin Airport - I thought she looked lovely in that green hat and coat, with a lovely blue/green dress underneath (you can't see here, but the coat is lined in the same material as the dress and the center of each flower on her hat was blue).
The Royal couple with the Presidential couple (can't stand anything about the President's outfit).
Our cobblestone streets were no problem for the Royal-ified Range Rover (complete with flag)
At the Garden of Remembrance  
In the Old Library at Trinity College, which I highly recommend you visit for a Harry Potter-esque experience ;)
Just look....
Beautiful, isn't it?
At the Irish War Memorial in Islandbridge, Dublin
Checking out the view from the Guinness Storehouse
Prince Phillip longing for that pint....
(not mad about the Queen's colourful ensemble here..in person it might be better, though)
The Queen with President McAleese and her husband entering Croke Park
In her favorite colour, yellow.
Everyone looking very elegant arriving at the dinner.  I very much liked what the Queen wore - it was age-appropriate (a quality that was sadly but not surprisingly sorely lacking in the choices of some other female guests at the dinner that night), and I thought the tiara I let her borrow suited her quite well.  The President, thankfully, lost the coat to reveal an elegant scoop-back, sheer sleeved gown.
The Queen meeting Irish royalty - Brian O'Driscoll, of course.
Speaking at the dinner.
Although her speaking in Irish was impressive, this was my favorite part:

"I love this clinking glass!" - QEII (guess clinking the ol' crystal doesn't usually fly at Buckingham Palace). 
Visiting the Irish National Stud in Kildare.  I do think she looks nice in blue.
At a party/concert at the National Convention Centre
Arriving in Cork, on her way to the Rock of Cashel
Love this! The Queen visiting the English Market in Cork - what is sure to be the most famous photo of her visit.
And finally...

Saying farewell to Ireland...

I kept thinking of Sue, knowing how much she would have loved to see this historic visit take place.  For this gal, who has lived in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and England, this really was a pretty cool thing to see.

Next up...Obama gets B(ar)ack to his Irish roots.  

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