This Green And Pleasant Land

“Is féidir linn”

or

“Yes we can”

The little Island of Ireland made me very proud in the past two months.   Three State Visits and a State Funeral.

First there was H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco and his fiancee Charlene Wittstock, former South African Olympic swimmer, who attended a reception in Farmleigh House* on the second day of the state visit.

Then we had ”A Uachtarán agus a cairde.”  The opening words of HM Queen Elizabeth II in her Banquet Speech At Dublin Castle during her four day State Visit.  It was the first visit by an English Reigning Monarch for 100 years.  The link is just a shortened version of the speech. There were many poignant moments during the visit, many fences were mended and politicians from both sides of the border were in attendance at the dinner.

Tensions were high before the visit and the public were kept well away from the routes being used, unfortunately it meant that the royal party met very few of the ‘ordinary’ people who walk the streets on a daily basis to and from work or for leisure purposes. I heard reports of people being stopped at barriers for anything up to three hours at a time until a cavalcade passed.  There were few complaints.

As a side note, the white evening gown worn by #BettyIE (the fondly humorous hashtag used on Twitter during the visit ), had 2,000 lace shamrocks embroidered in high relief on the bodice and sleeves.  The brooch was a silver Harp.

The State funeral for the well loved Dr Garret FitzGerald was held on Sunday.  Twice taoiseach and a true statesman.  President Mary McAleese described him as a man steeped in the history of the State who constantly strove to make Ireland a better place for all its people.

May he rest in peace.

Mondays of the Ireland long ago were wash days…  Come hail, rain or snow the women across the land washed anything and everything that moved!  Yesterday there was little washing done.  The winds blew up a storm and the rain pounded, but nothing could wash the smiles off the faces in Ireland as they proudly welcomed home a son of the soil.

Air Force 1 landed at Dublin Airport ahead of time, due to the prevailing wind.  Down the steps and onto hard tarmac, if not Irish soil, came Barack Hussein Obama 11 the 44th and current President of the United States and his wife Michelle.  They quickly made their way to meet President Mary McAleese and her husband at Aras an Uachtarain and to plant a tree in the garden. From there they moved to Farmleigh House for a meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

After lunch at the American Embassey there was an Oopsie moment, before they headed to Moneygall, the birthplace of the President’s ancestors.  All thirsty work, so the Guinness was supped, people met, shopping done and back to Dublin to talk to the people.

Barack Obama’s Speech in College Green, Dublin, Ireland

Alas, due to a volcanic eruption at Grimsvotn in southeastern Iceland, forecasters were predicting that ash would encroach on local airspace on Tuesday, so the departure was brought forward.  The Obama Roadshow left last night

*Farmleigh House in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, an 18th century Georgian house, which was the former home to the Guinness family, was bought by the Irish Government in 1999 specifically to provide accommodation to visiting dignitaries, among others.  At a cost of €29m, and a further €23m was spent by the Office of Public Works refurbishing the property.  It sits on an 80-acre site in the heart of the park.

Near neighbour is Aras an Uachtarain, the official residence of the President of Ireland.

16 thoughts on “This Green And Pleasant Land

  1. Grannymar,

    So Air Force One had to leave Ireland early because of volcanic ash in the air. Too bad they weren’t flying in Ryanair; THEY would have gotten through.

    Seriously, I was so proud of the Irish people who gave our President and First Lady such a wonderful welcome and visit. Thank you all……

  2. Well I certainly couldn’t avoid noticing all the dignitaries out your way the last few weeks…and I can’t resist adding that, if all goes according to plan, the hubby and I will be headed that way in September or October. Every time he sees the emerald green of current season, Hubby can’t resist…”I wanta go to Ireland!” We’ll keep you informed.

  3. I went into Dublin yesterday to see Obama, after 2.5 hours of waiting to cross the river and queueing on Dame Street, we finally made it through security – only to be stopped at a barrier about 30ft away from everyone else! Luckily the Gardai finally saw sense and let us join the main crowd.

    It was packed, but it was worth it!

  4. Nancy – Your First Couple seem like very warm people. The looked like they had fun.

    Ramana – Onward and upward!

    blackwatertown – I have no TV, but Twitter and online newspapers kept me up to date as it happened. No hanging around, getting wet or standing for long stretches.

  5. Alice – I look forward to catching up with you.

    Elly – Glad you enjoyed the experience. I wondered how long you had to stand and wait.

  6. Lovely post, GM, though I must say I was getting very sick of the Paddywhackery surrounding the O’Bama visit, connections being so thin on the ground ‘n all!
    However, that said, all events done us all proud. I was a big fan of Garrett’s. Mainly because the Da hated him.
    XO
    WWW

  7. The Queen had a remarkable welcome in the south. Amazing how many Royal-watchers there are in a country that’s supposed to be fervently Republican!

    Jenny was afraid the new ash cloud would stop her going on a study trip to Boston and Pittsburgh but her plane took off as scheduled this morning from Dublin.

  8. It must be interesting to live in such a beautiful place, with all the varied shades of green, and royality visiting. I’m not an Obama fan, but that’s neither here nor there. Some day I may get to see your beautiful country, it’s on the bucket list.

  9. WWW – I saw those Church records, I actually touched them when I visited Moneygall. Garrett was a grand man.

    Nick – There were a few anti-visit demonstrators, some wearing UK Football strips! I wondered if in fact they were ‘rent a crowd’. Glad that Jenny got away on time.

  10. Even from this remove it was exhausting keeping up with it all- I can’t imagine how glad Mary McA must have been to get everyone home safely, take the makeup off and put her pjs on.

  11. Wow quite an exciting week . . Monarch and President both! I remember George Bush coming here a couple of years ago, we were in lockdown. Crazy then some comedians managed to get within feet of his hotel. Caused quite a rucous

  12. Baino – Exciting so long as you were not caught in traffic going to or from work. I was fortunate to be in the comfort of my own home, the banter on Twitter was mighty and it kept me well entertained.

A penny for your thoughts...