Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What would Mick or Dev
have thought of Róisín Dubh?

Malcolm has been "otherwise engaged" these last few days. It has been a complicated (and knackering) exercise in 21st-century, trans-Atlantic childcare.

In the course of which, this afternoon, he found himself at the Tower of London, that ultimate symbol of Anglo-Norman power and oppression.

He looked across the river and saw ...

She was moored dapper, trim and neat, in the Pool of London. She is grey, a little grim, and definitively a working vessel for the North Atlantic.

The Tricolour flew from her stern.

Last decade she was built in Devon, at Appledore, in Devon. Thence, in 1588, Sir Richard Grenville of Bideford took five ships to join the opposition to the Spanish Armada.

Today, her present partner vessel, looking in need of a good refit, and now an historical relic, was built in Belfast, launched by Mrs Neville Chamberlain on St Patrick's Day, 17 March 1938, and named HMS Belfast.

The two vessels, side by side, poignantly suggest a parallel irony.

She is Long Eirennach Róisín, out of Haulbowline Island.

It has taken a long while, and many (on both sides) will never accept more than a few bits of the whole truth. Ninety years on, two nations have come to accept each other, after nine centuries of animosity, exploitation and struggle.

Today the independent Irish navy is welcome to pass under Tower Bridge; and moor in the Thames.

It is a sign of maturity on both sides.

Malcolm felt quite emotional.

Happy St Patrick's Day. Sphere: Related Content

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