Friday 17 November 2017

Lise Hand: A small bow on a day of huge symbolic resonance

Lise Hand

Lise Hand

IT was the smallest of actions by Queen Elizabeth -- a half-bow, an incline of the head -- but its significance was immense.

For it was a gesture most Irish people never thought they'd see, the British sovereign standing in the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin paying tribute to our war dead, to the men and women who perished in the struggle for freedom against British rule.

But this turned out to be one in a series of memorable moments during four extraordinary days in May when the queen made the first state visit of a British monarch to the Irish Republic. It was a long time coming -- during her 59-year reign she had visited 134 nations, but never her country's closest neighbour. The time was never right, after 800 years of conflict peace between us came very slow indeed.

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