Poll shows how Queen was taken to Irish hearts
President McAleese also gets huge endorsement for her role in visit
THE Irish, it is clear, have taken the Queen of Britain to their hearts and most want her to come back soon.
An overwhelming majority of the Irish people have said Queen Elizabeth won their hearts during her historic four-day visit to Ireland last week, according to the latest Sunday Independent/Quantum Research poll.
Ninety-five per cent of those polled said they thought the Queen had won the hearts of the Irish people.
Even those who admitted to having no great interest in her prior to the visit said they were won over by her exemplary attitude and the warmth she displayed throughout her stay here.
"I'm a republican who voted Sinn Fein and I would say yes, most certainly, she won the hearts of the Irish people," one male respondent said. Those polled were struck by how relaxed she appeared to be and were touched by her use of the Irish language and the humility shown on her visits to revered nationalist sites, such as the Garden of Remembrance and Croke Park.
"It was a great moment for this country when the Queen addressed our nation in Irish at the opening of her speech, really wonderful," one female respondent said.
"I had my doubts but now I'm a believer!" said another.
Most said her visit to Cork was their highlight, especially the unofficial walkabout.
It also appears that the Irish have developed a warm affection for the gaffe-prone Prince Philip, with 92 per cent saying they thought the Irish people liked him.
People loved the cheeky sense of humour of the eighty-nine-year-old Prince and were amazed at his stamina. More than a few respondents made the point that his sense of humour was very Irish.
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"I like Prince Philip. He's a gamey old man," said one female respondent.
"I think the Irish are the only country who actually get Prince Philip's humour. He's a gas man.
"Maybe he was Irish in his last life and the joke about the Guinness and the Liffey. Sure who wouldn't find that funny?" said one male respondent.
"If anyone was going to like him, it would be the Irish, they get his sense of humour in a way other countries couldn't," commented another.
A slightly smaller proportion, 89 per cent, said the visit of the Queen and Prince Philip had improved our sense of national self-esteem.
"This is the most important thing that has happened to Ireland in a long, long time. The world was watching how it would go and thank God it went well. We should be proud," said one respondent.
According to Quantum Research, people said it was the perfect antidote to all the negativity surrounding the country over the past two-and-a-half years and they hoped it would help boost our national recovery.
There was great praise for the manner in which the tour had been organised and the symbolic nature of many of the engagements was not lost on people.
"I'm proud to be Irish again," said one male respondent.
Virtually all, 95 per cent, said the visit would improve Anglo-Irish relations, with many people believing that we have finally put behind us our long-held antipathy toward "all things British".
One woman who was polled said: "This visit is culturally, historically and symbolically huge for this country.
"We need to move on, leave old feelings behind and embrace modernity and open-mindedness."
There was widespread acclaim for President Mary McAleese's role in proceedings, with 73 per cent of those polled saying she was "outstanding."
Not one person said she did a poor job in hosting the Queen and Prince Philip.
"She really was outstanding from beginning to end. In fact, I think that the Constitution should be changed to allow her to be elected for another seven years," a Dublin respondent said.
"The Queen and President McAleese seemed so comfortable with one another. They both were remarkable on this visit," one female Dublin respondent said.
Eighty-two per cent would love to see the Queen make a return visit in the near future, such was the success of this one. Eighteen per cent said they would not like a return in the near future, as they believe she couldn't top this visit.
Despite the considerable disruption to traffic and movement in Dublin last week, a huge proportion, 86 per cent, said the inconvenience was worth it. The same number said the security services were justified in preventing the general public from greeting the Queen.
"I think it was justified, it only takes one lunatic to do something stupid and considering what's at stake..." said one male respondent.