Tuesday 20 March 2018

David Robbins: Dr Johnson might not agree, but I relished that warm glow of patriotism

David Robbins

The President was due any minute now. Outside, the town band was waiting. A couple of gardai were on standby. A lone piper stood on a traffic island. The town square in Listowel was bathed in late evening sunshine. "We're poxed with the weather," someone said.

There was a good-natured unruliness about it that was quintessentially Irish. It could have been any town, or indeed any president, from Douglas Hyde onwards. The scene has hardly changed in almost a century.

Inside the hall, there was a kind of relaxed mayhem. We were asked to stand for President Higgins's arrival, and again for his departure. A harpist played, a singer sang, and sang again when the President was delayed. The old rhythms, and the old lyrics, had power yet.

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss