Dot writes: the Queen is visiting Trinity today. I was contacted a couple of months ago and asked if I wanted to be one of the party greeting her. I said yes, but so did lots of other people and I wasn’t picked (they ran a lottery so this is no reflection on my dubious past as a member of the Tolkien Society).
The security around this visit is absolutely ferocious. Half of Trinity College, including the Arts Building, has been closed to everyone without special security clearance since Saturday afternoon. I had a first-year exam to attend yesterday and spent the day lurking in a hidden room in Goldsmith Hall because I couldn’t get to my office. I saw enough of Trinity College to notice that all the dustbins had been removed. Today there are rolling street closures in Dublin and the public won’t be allowed to congregate to try to meet the Queen in the places she is visiting; and my office is still off limits. I won’t be the only person who just stays at home today. Her Majesty will think Dublin is the Marie Celeste.
I can’t help thinking it’s all a bit excessive. Yes, there are some people who will want to protest at the visit of a Head of State who was Queen on Bloody Sunday, and it would be very embarrassing if anybody succeeded in bombing her, but surely the message this sends out to the world is that Ireland is a hotbed of terrorism; and even in the North that’s no longer the case. Meanwhile the message it’s sending out to Hugh is that Mummy is home so it can’t be a schoolday. Sadly that’s not true either.