People here in Thurles, Co Tipperary will be well aware of the close historic connections the town holds with the British Royal Family, Thurles being the latter’s true Ancestral Home. Indeed their many ancestors are buried in St. Mary’s Famine Museum Church and its outer graveyard here in Thurles.
(Please click on images Left & Right for greater magnification.)
This week Ireland’s ninth and current President, Mr Michael D. Higgins Irish: Mícheál D. Ó hUiginn) together with his wife Sabina, are enjoying a State visit to England, having entered Windsor Castle and meet many powerful dignitaries, including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh.
During this visit President Higgins told a State Banquet at Windsor Castle that this first state visit of a President of Ireland to the United Kingdom “was a very visible sign of the warmth and maturity of the relationship between our two countries” thus marking a transformation in English / Irish relations.
“Through conquest and resistance, we have cast shadows on each other, but we have also gained strength from one another as neighbours and, most especially, from the contribution of those who have travelled between our islands in recent decades,” he stated. “While the past must be respectfully recognised it must not imperil the potential of the present or the possibilities of the future,” he said. “We must, however, never forget those who died, were bereaved, or injured, during the tragic conflict,” he continued.
President Higgins said the warm welcome he had received was “very deeply felt and appreciated.”
To mark this most important and historic State visit to Great Britain why not view host Dermot O’Leary for a showcase of Irish culture, Ceiliúradh (English; ‘Celebration’), at The Royal Albert Hall. The evening will celebrate Ireland’s long-standing cultural connections with Britain.
Performers will include Imelda May, Fiona Shaw, Joseph O’Connor and Glen Hansard. The event will be streamed live on the internet tonight on RTÉ Player from 8:25pm.
If you miss it tonight, don’t worry you can catch the highlights on BBC4 this coming Sunday at 8.00pm.