Monday, May 16, 2011

Queen Visit

Queen Elizabeth will arrive in the Republic of Ireland for the first time on Tuesday. The last ruling British monarch to journey to Ireland was King George V in 1911. Since those 100 years there has been a rebellion against British rule, a two and a half year war, an Irish Civil War fought over the issue of recognising the crown, an economic war, and the Northern Ireland troubles. It has been a difficult history. I of course welcome the visit of the Queen. I have long held the view that the most noble political aspiration any Irish person can have is to assist the the reconciliation of the two traditions on this island. Anything that brings the Ulster Protestant and the Irish Catholic closer together is a good thing. I hope this visit can contribute significantly to that goal. Gone are the days I hope when our northern Protestant neighbours viewed the Republic as a hostile entity.

I do want to say however that I am not exactly in the same camp as the "get over it" crowd. There is legitimate reason on both sides for apprehension. The murder of Lord Mountbatten for one, and the highly negative experience that many northern Catholics had with the British Military during the troubles. I agree with Gerry Adams who said recently that to say this visit shows Ireland is maturing is condescending. I thought former Taoiseach John Bruton made a lazy remark when he said that France and Germany have been through two far more brutal wars in the last century yet their Heads of State visit each other regularly. Perhaps, but where as Franco German relations have been on the mend since 1945, Ireland's relationship with Britain has not always had the space to improve. I doubt whether Germany and France would still have such cosy relations if the Germans were still occupying Alsace Lorraine.

As for the Queen herself. I hope she has a grand aul time. I don't have strong feelings about the monarchy one way or another. It's a British thing. But as a World War Two history fanatic, I do find her endurance astonishing. Sixty Six years ago last week she walked out on to the balcony of Buckingham Palace along with her Parents, sister and Prime Minster Winston Churchill to celebrate the allied victory over Nazi Germany. It was one of the most momentous moments in human history. You have to admire that so many years later she is still making history.

Queen Elizabeth, far left, celebrating VE day on the 8th of May 1945.


b.f. said...

There's a video of a public domain historical folk song from 1979, "The Lord Mountbatten," that was recently posted at the following protestfolk channel link which readers might be interested in checking out:

Ted Leddy said...


Thanks for your comment and welcome to Gubu World. I enjoyed listening to your song. However I must say that Mountbatten's death is not something that should be in anyway glorified. Remember, there were two children killed in the blast. It is not very "anti war" of you to sing such a song.