Alison O'Connor: Octogenarian treasures made this truly a week to remember
Immediately prior to her arrival here, my own thoughts -- and those of most people I spoke to -- concentrated on the fact that, above all, we wanted Queen Elizabeth to return home alive and well.
As it drew closer, the symbolism of the visit, the opportunity to show off our beautiful country and regain some of our international reputation, seemed almost inconsequential. All that was required was for her to arrive, do her thing and return to Buckingham Palace in the whole of her health without any accidents befalling her or anyone attempting to harm her.
But how magnificent it all turned out to be. Who could have guessed that it would be such a wonderful week -- from the colour of her outfit when she touched down at Baldonnel, all the way through to the head bowing at the Garden of Remembrance, to those slightly high-pitched, haltingly spoken words of Irish at the beginning of her speech in Dublin Castle?