Thursday, May 5, 2011
Conversation overheard on the Dart last week: "Did ya see the Queen, Obama and the Pope are all comin to Ireland this year," said a 25 year old odd man in a thick Dublin accent to his friend standing beside him. "They musta heard about the €3 pints in Coppers," laughed the friend.
Of course the visit of such high profile world leaders is not down to the price of the pint in one of Ireland's favourite night clubs, but it certainly is timely. The images of the Queen and Obama smiling and waving at well wishers while standing in front of some of the country's most iconic scenery will be a welcome image boost for the country.
What a contrast the stunning architecture of Trinity College or the rolling hills of West Cork will make to clichéd photos of the unfinished skeleton of the Anglo Building and the ghost estates of middle Ireland that have been bandied about endlessly around the world.
I'm sure the arrangements have already been made for their travels but Old Ollie here has already sent out an invitation to Mr Obama to stay in the Grand Canal Hotel Dublin, and offered her Majesty the Lansdowne Suite should the trappings of Farmleigh House in the Phoneix Park not live up to her usual standards.
Disappointingly, we learned today that the President is only going to spend 24 hours in Ireland and that his mooted address to the people in Croke Park is not now going to happen.
I'm not sure where Obama is staying but at this stage I can only presume that the room I'm holding for him is going to remain idle unless I put it back up for sale. That said I've also invited him in for a pint in Gasworks. I'll be waiting by the bar Mr President.
The Queen is due to arrive on the 17th of May until the 20th. Trinity College, the Garden of Remembrance, Dublin Castle and Croke Park are all thought to be on her itinerary.
So far, the dates for the visit have not been officially confirmed by either Áras an Uachtaráin or the palace, but it is most likely to occur either side of US president Barack Obama’s State visit to London between May 24th and 26th.
Despite the obvious (well to the Irish anyway) historical issues, the vast majority of Ireland will welcome with open arms the Queen's visit to Ireland.
Security around the visit of both will be enormous...to such an extent that when I typed in "the Queen's visit to Ireland itinerary" I probably appeared on both the Irish and the British security alerts.
The Pope's visit has yet to be confirmed. Rumoured to take place at the same time as the 50th Eucharistic Conference which takes place in Dublin in May 2012 a visit by the Pope will be another welcomed boost to Ireland's image abroad.
A message to all three...if you get board give me a shout. We have a great relationship with the Gaiety/Grand Canal Theatre, the O2, Aviva Stadium, Shelbourne Park and if they really feel like it...the National Leprechaun Museum.
Cead Mile Failte to you all!!!
Ollie McGrath (OMG)