Stopping the dogs fighting
WRITTEN WHEN THE QUEEN ARRIVED IN IRELAND in 2011
When I was about 15, my neighbour had a beautiful black and white collie dog. My family had a beautiful Lassie coloured collie, called Laddie. My neighbour’s dog used to stand at the entrance of our driveway and peer down at Laddie which demanded that our younger collie should stand his ground and defend his territory. Laddie used to chase down in a frenzy at our neighbour’s dog and attack. For every vicious attack, I was there to separate the two dogs with my neighbour complaining that my dog should be on a leash. I would shout back, defending Laddie and complaining about my neighbour’s dog provoking him. The truth was that my neighbour’s sheepdog was much older and saw the area as his patch even when a younger collie took over. Now we are both the owners of two beautiful dead dogs and what irked our collies back then means very little 15 years later.
Just turned 30 and somewhat political, I was always happy to be called anti-American, protesting during the Bush years and now following after Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Ireland, Barack Obama Jr will visit Dublin and I can’t wait. Such an improvement over President George Bush II.
Back when the collies were colliding with each other, Clinton who played an important part in peace in Northern Ireland was looking for a second term as president and Mary McAleese was campaigning for her first term. Like every 30-year-old in the country, I have never had the opportunity to vote for an Irish president but I was old enough to vote when Bush Junior ran in 2000, re-ran in 2004 and I look forward to Obama re-running shortly after we elect our 9th president. Queen Elizabeth has ruled for 59 years and as if Ireland had a monarch, my generation has had no say on who occupies the vice regal lodge. If Ireland is to be different from our neighbour, let’s shorten our figurehead’s lengthy reign at the next changing of the guard and look at shorter American styled presidencies where national debates aren’t held once in a generation.
Uachtaráin, Queen or President, bridging gaps and fixing fences is important and looking back on my teenage years, fighting with the man across the road prevented me from knowing my neighbour and when I saw him in a pub years later, I had to join him for a Guinness and finally let sleeping dogs, lie.
So whether your neighbour has a collie or a corgi, let’s forget whether we were once anti-American or anti-British and embrace those two celebrated Irish sayings, Céad míle fáilte and Sláinte.
UPDATE: December 2018, the high hopes I had hoped for in 2011 about a brighter future with our European neighbour have been dashed heading into 2019 as BREXIT approaches and I fear the violence which saw British soldiers pointing guns at Irish children at the border might once again, be unleashed.