Tuesday 24 October 2017

British antipathy to us has gone, apathy is likely to remain

Queen Elizabeth during the wreath laying ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin on the first day of her State visit in 2011.
Queen Elizabeth during the wreath laying ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin on the first day of her State visit in 2011.
Michael D Higgins will join a long list of world leaders, including US president Barack Obama, that have made a state visit to Britain during Queen Elizabeth's reign
Mandy Johnston

Mandy Johnston

My earliest childhood memory is being cold, but excited, as we waited for the ferry from Holyhead to Dublin. As an Irish family living in England, it meant that every year we made the very long journey from England back to our real home for Christmas holidays and sometimes the summer too. The journey was long but the promise of what lay at the other end of it was worth it all.

President Michael D Higgins will make history when he becomes the first Irish head of state to make an official state visit to Britain this week. At home in Ireland we will watch the highlights on the news every evening.

The commentariat will analyse every gesture, every bended knee, every smile, and every cupla focal. Teams of civil servants will work around the clock to ensure that every element of the carefully crafted programme proceeds as planned. Protocol departments in Aras an Uachtarain and Buckingham Palace will resemble a whirling dervish as they make sure that ceremonial gifts are appropriate and proportional.

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