I have had the privilege to visit Ireland about a dozen times in the last ten years. Whenever I visit Dublin I immediately feel at home. Even browsing in the airport bookshop I feel I am at ease – the books about Gaelic traditions, the green scarves, the Leprauchauns…It all just feels as though I am home.
My grandmother was of Irish extraction. Her maiden name was Haley, a good old Irish surname. Perhaps that is why I feel at home there. Being a Celt helps, of course. But I am also proud of being Cornish and English.
So, seeing “God Save the Queen” played at Croke Park was quite an emotional moment for me. The fact that it was heard with great respect is an enormous tribute to the maturity of the Irish nation. You can now truly say that Ireland and England have moved on from a terrible period of history.
On You Tube there is an amateur clip by a spectator, Aidan O’Sullivan, which is awesome. That is because, unlike the TV clips, it shows the Irish spectators up-close during the playing of “God Save the Queen”. They are standing to attention, with complete respect, and they applaud when it ends. Of course, that did not stop them passionately enjoying the two Irish anthems and enjoying, with great glee, the fact that their boys stuffed our boys!
What a glorious occasion! I am quite choked.