On 12 August this year it will be exactly 200 years since King George IV set his two feet in Ireland. It was his 59th birthday.
No great feat you may think. But he was the first claimant to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland, or the throne of the United Kingdom to visit Ireland since the Prince of Orange in 1690. He landed on Howth’s West Pier, with such force that the prints have remained embedded in the stone to this day.
He was entertained in Dublin’s Mansion House, which, in anticipation built a huge, beautiful, Round Room, to accommodate the Balls held in his honour. That room survives in all its pristine glory. And the surviving accounts of the visit tell of an Irish welcome extended by the whole population.
Perhaps the enthusiasm of his Howth welcome dictated that he leave via Dun Laoghaire, which so pleased the locals that they jettisoned the name commemorating the King who met St Patrick in 422 AD. The Burghers renamed their town Kingstown.
Later still they forgot George IV and restored the Gaelic name.
I’m waiting for THE IRISH TIMES to launch a campaign to to obliterate the shame which the Irish people brought on themselves these past two centuries, Let Dun Laoghaire revert to Kingstown, let Balls be the currency of discussion and let us all adopt the values when that Kinky Organ was a dedicated follower of Fascism