Silver trinkets are exchanged, but textbook is jewel in crown
NOW firm friends, President Mary McAleese and Queen Elizabeth exchanged gifts at a ceremony in Farmleigh yesterday.
Much to her pleasure and great interest, the queen was presented with a facsimile of an early Irish language textbook commissioned specially for Queen Elizabeth I, who was fascinated by Irish people's 'outlandish' way of speaking in the 16th Century.
The little blue "primer" was compiled in 1564 by Anglo-Irish nobleman Christopher Nugent, later the Baron of Delvin in Co Westmeath, when he was a student at Cambridge.
The original had been greatly admired by the queen as she inspected the Farmleigh library treasures and she was "very pleased" to be presented with her own copy, according to a spokesperson for the President.
The queen was also presented with a silver brooch, while the prince received a pair of silver cufflinks, both of a Newgrange spiral design and made by Dublin goldsmith Declan Killen.
In return, the queen presented the President with a small silver jug embossed with a design of a crown and a harp.
She also gave framed photographs of the monarch and her husband -- a typical gift from royal families throughout Europe, according to the Aras spokesperson.