We have all watched the news, print media and even followed the events unfold live on television, but one thing is certain – the official Irish state visits in the past week by US President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II have been an resounding success.
The huge 60,000 crowd that gathered at College Green to greet the President two days ago, and the warm welcome afforded to the Queen wherever she went as part of her Ireland itinerary is a testament to the huge success of the visits.
In a major coup for Irish tourism and a welcome boost for Irish accommodation providers, these two state visits have properly bolstered Ireland’s image abroad, and provided a welcome and much desired contrast to the negative news associated with Ireland due to the damaging economic collapse of the past few years.
The hugely symbolic visits of the Queen and President Obama have generated so many iconic images for the future promotion of Ireland as the ‘Land Of A Thousand Welcomes’. Ireland needs its tourism ‘mojo’ back - and as a first step these state visits have given us a very big helping hand!
Some of the highlights of the official state visits were as follows:
- The Queen laying wreaths to Ireland’s fallen war heroes at both the Garden of Remembrance and the War Memorial at Island Bridge;
- The Dublin Castle banquet and concert showcasing Irish musical talent;
- Guinness Storehouse visit by the Queen and Prince Phillip;
- Visit to Trinity College and the Book of Kells, County Tipperary’s stunning Rock of Cashel;
- A walkabout through the streets of Cork city to meet well-wishers and a visit to Cork’s famed English Market;
- President Obama’s historic visit to Moneygall, County Offaly from where his ancestors hail, a stroll through the village to meet the locals, and a celebratory pint of Guinness in Hayes’s Bar;
- The rousing speech by the President at College Green Dublin in front of a large crowd and the live and free public concert showcasing the best of Irish entertainment from the film, sports and music worlds.
All of the above events have generated huge publicity worldwide, especially the historic visit of the Queen to Ireland, the very first visit by an English Monarch since Irish independence was attained in 1921. President Obama is the 6th US President to visit Ireland.
Without a doubt, the drop in visitors from the UK has hurt Irish tourism more than most. It is estimated that overall two million less tourists visited Ireland in 2010 compared to the overall total of nine million visitors in 2007.
The images of the Queen being so warmly welcomed in the Republic of Ireland is hoped to give a significant boost to Irish tourism in the UK. And the visit by the American President is hoped to boost the number of Irish Americans visiting Ireland, through their quest to investigate their Irish Heritage.
What did you think of the state visits to Ireland by the Queen and US President? Were you one of the many that welcomed the British and American heads of state? Let us know your thoughts. Thank You.