Saturday 3 December 2016

New love affair with Britain shouldn't shape how we plan to mark the Rising anniversary

Gerard O'Regan

Published 19/04/2014 | 02:30

President Michael D Higgins in conversation with Queen Elizabeth before the historic state banquet in Windsor Castle.
President Michael D Higgins in conversation with Queen Elizabeth before the historic state banquet in Windsor Castle.

Those giddy moments at the start of the love affair simply could not continue. As is the way with these things, mutual infatuation had to give way to a more sober and reflective kind of relationship. And so it is in these Easter days, with their echo of momentous moments in our history, we can reflect yet again on how the British and ourselves should try and chart new pathways.

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The President is now back in the Aras, and the queen is presumably ensconced in one of her castles, attending to sundry regal matters. The sum of what was said and done during their get-together has indeed altered British-Irish relations forever. To quote a certain WB Yeats: "All changed, changed utterly.''

But so much happened shrouded in the emotion of the moment, it is understandable sooner rather than later there would be a more dispassionate reappraisal of the visit and an effort to put certain matters into context. This has now happened following the suggestion – made during the visit – that members of the royal family should attend events marking the 1916 centenary in two years time.

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