Royals whisked through ghost streets and fans miss the action
Published 18/05/2011 | 14:01
Despondent and disappointed - they were the words of two royalists who waited in vain for a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth as she travelled through the heart of Dublin city.
Cecilia Travers and Maura Monks were among the small crowd gathered in the shadow of the iconic Guinness brewery as the monarch toured inside.
But there were no flags, no banners and few cheers as the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were whisked past by a fleet of outriders and a long motorcade of black cars.
"Oh, doesn't she look lovely," Ms Travers said sarcastically as the royal couple passed about 200 metres behind a police cordon.
Just a handful of people lucky enough to work or live inside the barriers got a closer glimpse of the royals being driven through the Liberties.
Most were held so far back there was only a hint of the famous smell of hops lingering in the air around the famed St James's Gate.
"Isn't it awful disappointing," the 67-year-old added more seriously.
"It must be awful for them in the car with no-one on the streets. It's very sad."
Her neighbour had also come from her nearby home off James Street for the "once in a lifetime chance" to see the royal she loved.
"I've always had great respect for her. I think she's a fantastic woman," said Mrs Monks.
"But I'm very disappointed. Despondent."
Another dozen people stood behind crash barriers on Thomas Street around 20 metres from where the cavalcade proceeded past and into the walled Guinness complex.
The surrounding area was closed to traffic, shops were shuttered and streets eerily quiet.
Retired Guinness worker Eamonn Murphy revealed he cried when he saw the Queen lay a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance where those who died fighting for Irish freedom in 1916 are commemorated.
"It has been a long time coming and I think yesterday was a big day for Ireland and a big day for our neighbours," he said.
"We are two neighbouring islands. It is good that she did what she did yesterday.
The 66-year-old worked in sales for Guinness for most of his 43 years at the company.
"She will have endeared herself to a lot of people," he added.
"History is history. It is always there, but it is like every disagreement or row that people have. There is always a way back.
"Sometimes it takes a long time, and in this case it has taken a long time, but the mere fact that she did what she did yesterday has gone a long way to burying the past."
John and Daphne Gaynor, both 60, are solicitors in the city centre and were disappointed to have missed a fleeting glimpse of the monarch as she drove into the Guinness factory.
Mr Gaynor said: "It is an historic visit. There has not been one since the last king, so it is just curiosity which brought us here as you will never see one again."
His wife thought it was a shame they could not get any closer.
"It is like a ghost town here," she added.