Meeting President of Ireland at Áras an Uachtaráin

On Monday 12 July 2010 I was invited to meet the President of Ireland Mary McAleese and Dr Martin McAleese in a personal capacity at Áras an Uachtaráin along with my partner Alan.

It was an extremely enjoyable event to mark the 12th July celebrating a Shared Past and looking forwards to a Shared Future with fantastic music and entertainment. I was particuarly impressed by the singer Jackie Boyce.

Details concerning the event have been provided by at 
www.president.ie and are provided below for ease of reference;

President hosts 12th July Garden Party
President McAleese has hosted the annual Twelfth of July garden party at Áras an Uachtaráin. This year’s event celebrated the cultural diversity of the island of Ireland, marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of Douglas Hyde, first President of Ireland who died on 12th July 1949.
Speaking to 400 guests from all parts of the island, the President said,
‘Hyde was, to some minds but not to his own, a paradox, a contradiction; a Protestant and an Irish nationalist, a son of the Anglo-Irish manse, he made the personal choice to champion Irish language and culture out of the deep love he acquired for them in the welcoming little homesteads of Roscommon. He was a man of peace, a man of intellectual curiosity and a man who believed passionately in this island’s potential if it could escape the agonising raw wounds bestowed on us by history. ’
President McAleese continued,
‘He once said “Hatred is a negative passion; it is powerful - a very powerful destroyer; but it is useless for building up. Love, on the other hand, is like faith; it can move mountains, and faith, we have mountains to move.” We are the generation which has seen those mountains move from the darkness of a culture of conflict to the opening chapters of a culture of consensus. Within Northern Ireland the two traditions are working together in government. Within the island of Ireland the two jurisdictions are cooperating in a fresh new spirit of partnership. At political and community level many people are giving courageous example of how to build good neighbourly and mutually respectful relations. It is still very much a work in progress - a noble and humanly uplifting work, not achievable overnight but achievable by increments. I hope that on this day, in this house we are quietly nudging that work forward together. ’
Singers Iarla Ó Lionáird and Jackie Boyce performed songs from the Irish and Ulster-Scots traditions. Other performers included Belfast flautists, Marcas Ó Murchú and Michael Clarkson, and the 1st Old Boys Association Band, BBL Band of the Year 2009.