Last week Queen Elizabeth II made a state visit to the Republic or Ireland, a nation that her father was crowned king of in 1936 and one which has been claimed by all her predecessors since Henry VIII, and before that her predecessors were the ‘Lords of Ireland’ from the Norman times to the reformation.
Much has been said of the trip, about the history and the rights and wrongs, the thing I want to point out is that Ireland doing this is beginning to look grown up. From my childhood on, I remember the things said about England or Britain, people refused to use the geographic name Great, in the mistaken idea that it refered to cool or good instead of size. I recall the bare hatred, the nastiness, the small mindedness shown toward England and the English, it became embarrassing as I got older and started reading for myself, finding much of the claims made against the dastardly ‘English’ were just that claims, not facts.
Throughout most of Irish history, our fellow Irish have been our worst enemies, it was an Irishman who first invited the Normans to Ireland, offered his daughter in marriage and his kingdom to a Norman earl, all because he wanted to beat some rival king in some petty war. It was Irishmen who fought on each side in each conflict betraying one another at pivotal points in history or running away to France or Rome to retire to the good life instead of sticking it out in Ireland with their people, and we wonder why Ireland did not produce an independent king?
Yes the English ‘fecked up’ as we say out here, but the truth is the Irish are an exasperating people, one that drive sane men mad and merciful men to massacre.
And please don’t believe every sordid tale written by frothing at the mouth ‘Irish-Americans’, they have some serious problems.
But I digress, the whole state visit was quite amazing, it was as if Ireland suddenly decided to act like a grown up, it became an ongoing national event, blanket TV coverage, state banquets, tens of thousands lining the routes taken and then after it was done we suddenly realise the Queen has been and gone and except for a few predictable protests, nothing went wrong.