May 16

Will Ireland be won over by The Queen during her State Visit?

The danger for a large scale, formal, royal visits to the Republic of Ireland lies not in the possibility that royal visitors might not be well received by the Irish people, but that they might be too well received, warned James H Murphy.

This comment is cited by Mary Kenny in her remarkable book “Crown and Shamrock,” in which she argued that it was time for the Queen to visit the Republic of Ireland.  Her wish is about to be fulfilled with the State Visit from Tuesday 17 May to Friday 20 May.


According to Ms. Kenny, writing  in The Catholic Herald (12/5), opinion polls tell us that 81 per cent of people in Ireland welcome The Queen who will be accompanied by Prince Philip, who has visited Dublin previously.

It will be wonderful if Ireland decides to rejoin the Commonwealth where she would be most welcome.

The programme will include a formal welcome by President McAleese at áras an Uachtaráin, a ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance, a courtesy call on the Taoiseach at Government Buildings and a State dinner in Dublin Castle, at which both The Queen and the President will deliver speeches.

The programme will also include events at Trinity College Dublin, at the National War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge, at the Guinness Storehouse and at Croke Park.

A return event celebrating The Queen’s visit will be hosted by the Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Ireland.The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will also visit the Irish National Stud in Kildare as well as Cashel in County Tipperary, and Cork.  

But as one of the leading British Catholic newspapers, The Tablet (14/5), editorialises, there is a paradox in this visit.

This is that while the background is extra­ordinary, it is being approached in almost mundane terms by the Irish Government as a chance to increase tourism and foster trade – " the normal currency of such ceremonial state events elsewhere". 

( This incidentally is something which Australian and other republicans should note. Without doubt a Royal Visit significanlty increases tourism as few other visits can. It brings the attention of the world to the country visited in a way that no tourist office can achieve even with a multi-million doallar budget.

Just recall the international attention to Prince William's two recent visits – one while he was on leave from the Army and fitted in after a formal visit to New Zealand and one squeezed in just before his wedding. And by the way, he is not paid and never will be paid a cent. And without any goldenhandshake or generous taxpayer funded superannuation.

It may amuse readers as much as it does me that as soon as this column appeared on the ACM site, the above quote from The Tablet was whisked across to a website under the control  of the ARM's media director to be used in a tirade by their republican royal watcher.)


…best explanation of relationship…


The best explanation I have seen of the complex relationship between the Irish and the British Crown is  in Mary Kenny’s superb book, Crown and Shamrock.

This is available here at a special price of $28.83 at the time of writing, postage and tax free. Just click here.

 The publisher’s description is most accurate:

(Continued below)

Based on unique access to the Royal Archives in Windsor, and other historical material as well as on personal memoir, Mary Kenny reveals some previously unappreciated aspects of the Crown and Shamrock, including Edward VII's exceptionally benign attitudes to Catholics, George V's obsessive worries about civil war between North and South, and how Ireland was constitutionally altered (and morally riven) by the Abdication Crisis of 1936.

The author of "Goodbye to Catholic Ireland", Mary Kenny also traces the parallel rise of 'Ireland's Alternative Monarchy', the Papacy, and the ceremonial role of the Catholic church which all but replaced the ritual of discarded royalty.

An engaging and refreshing study of Ireland's relationship with the British Crown, this is a timely and compelling book.

..the coming visit…

Mary Kenny says that Queen Elizabeth II’s historic trip to the Republic of Ireland next week could be her most challenging state visit.

We wish Her Majesty, His Royal Highness and the Irish people well in this important moment in Anglo-Irish relations.



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