News & Updates, Travel

The Queen’s Speech

“A Uachtaráin agus a chairde”

With these words, followed by the Irish President’s gasped “Wow!” and the 170 odd guest’s applause, Queen Elizabeth did more for Peace in Ireland than can ever be imagined. The speech that followed set the perfect tone and was, quite frankly, a masterpiece. The tone was of mutual admiration, understanding and desire to move forward. The focus was not on politics but on families and relationships – the things that really matter. In her own words, all involved were “able to bow to the past, but not be bound by it”.

At the time I was a few blocks away, yes – in a pub. With much of the city centre closed at various times during the visit it has been a strange feeling – you certainly cannot ignore that there’s something going on. And despite the full contingent of Gardai, the miles and miles of barriers and the strangely sealed post boxes and manholes, the feeling has been boyant and positive. Yes, a bomb was found on a bus and a few hoaxes discovered since, but the feared protests have been so pathetically small that they have helped to highlight to the world that peace can prevail.

I remember as a kid thinking that Ireland was just a place where everyone bombed everyone else. All I saw of it was the bombs on the news. When I arrived, I had a sence of trepedation – not knowing what I would find. And I’ve heard so many stories since coming here of people crossing the border and having guns in their faces, of being singled out for special security searches and the like.

We’ve come an awfully long way – and no doubt we still have a way to go. But the light at the end of the tunnel is nolonger a pinprick, it is bright enough that we can see the door.

Oh and my gosh she looked fabulous!

3 thoughts on “The Queen’s Speech”

  1. While I feel that the joy and mild pride at hearing a foreign dignitary struggle through a few words in our native language, is justified, I think it is terribly sad that now, she is likely more fluent than may Irish people.

    We can blame the British for forcing us to relinquish the daily use of this most noble of tongues all those centuries ago, but we cannot, for one second, pass the blame on from ourselves in the present.

    The queen managed to get through 5 words, likely phonetically written down for her, but all those people whose Irish doesn’t go beyond the “cupla focail” and “póg mo thón” have nothing to be proud of. I wish, as a nation, we took better care of our language.

  2. I wonder how many of the teenagers protesting and throwing bricks in the city centre can speak the language. As an outsider looking in I find it quite amazing how many people here learnt the language in school and yet claim to not be able to speak it at all – it’s such a shame!

  3. In many cases it’s a misplaced pride in ignorance. It’s amazing to me, too. Some of my close, well-educated friends even scoff when I speak a few words to them, even though they understand what I’m saying.

    I learnt Irish in an Irish-speaking primary school. I was immersed in it. We were even taught maths and history through Irish and it taught me a love of the language and that it is worthy of respect.

    These louts continue the “tradition” of thinking all things Irish are inferior without realising they’re doing it. All those Celtic jerseys are proof enough. Where were all the GAA shirts? They truly do embarrass the life out of me, but they’re so far from reason that there’s little we can do but hope the next generation carries the torch with more pride.

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