Friday 28 April 2017

Come back soon, Lizzie, you're not a cold fish after all

THE final day of the queen's stately progress through her former realm proved to be even more triumphant and implausible than what went before.

Some observers thought Corkonians gave Her Majesty a truly ecstatic welcome just to make the perfidious Dubs feel bad.

On Twitter, natives of the second city took the opportunity to brief the foreign media about local traits with quips such as: "Heard about the Corkman with the inferiority complex? He thought he was the same as everyone else.''

In truth, there have been several pinch-me moments on this trip.

Who would have thought that a British sovereign would come among us to watch Westlife in a tilting cylindrical box on Dublin's quays -- and have a chinwag with Mary Byrne about her appearance on 'The X Factor'?

And then there were the joyful scenes in Cork yesterday. Colm Tobin (the tweeter, not the novelist) captured the mood of disbelief as the couple toured the English Market: "The Queen of England is now shopping for fish in Cork. These drugs are really kicking in.''

The reception may have been warm, but nobody was bowing down.

At one point Prince Philip asked a fishmonger: "What's in the fish cakes?'' The stallholder snapped back with a notable lack of sycophancy: "Fish, what did you think?''

Hard-bitten hacks from across the pond likened the scenes outside on the street to Beatlemania as shrieking teenage girls drowned out all other sounds on the BBC's coverage.

Not everybody was caught up in the royal fervour, but times have clearly changed since the Northern Secretary Reggie Maudling boarded his plane in the 1970s and declared, "For God's sake bring me a large Scotch. What a bloody awful country!"

Irish Independent

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