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Saturday, 9 July 2016

9‭ ‬July‭ ‬1911:‭ ‬King George V and Queen Mary visited the Catholic Seminary of Maynooth on this day.‭ ‬The British king was on a brief tour of Ireland to mark his accession to the throne.‭ ‬He spent four days in and around Dublin on a royal visit to the city.‭ ‬The King and the royal party,‭ ‬led by the‭ ‬8th Royal Hussars on horseback,‭ ‬had travelled from the harbour in Kingstown/‭ ‬Dún Laoghaire to Dublin Castle,‭ ‬as thousands lined the streets to view his procession.‭ ‬Here the King and Queen based themselves in a very secure location and circulated from there to the various locations in a meticously planned series of events designed to enhance Royal Power in the wake of George V’s Coronation.

It was decided that a visit to the educational centre of Catholic Ireland would help to balance any attempt of the Orange Order to make his stay here the preserve of any one side.‭ ‬The King was accompanied by his formidable wife Queen Mary who was bedecked in a stunning white dress with a matching hat of feathers.‭ ‬Cardinal Michael Logue,‭ ‬Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland and by Dr Daniel Mannix the President of the College,‭ ‬greeted the Royal couple on arrival.‭ ‬Other senior members of the Catholic Hierarchy were also in attendance.‭ ‬The visit was the highlight of the King’s stay in Ireland.‭

However King George’s visit by no means met with everyone’s approval.‭ ‬Even someone as socially conservative as William Martin Murphy turned down the offer of a Knighthood from the King.‭ ‬Dublin Corporation would not issue an address welcoming him to the City of Dublin.‭ ‬James Connolly warned people to stay away and issued a stern rebuttal of the majesty of kings and this one in particular:

 Murder,‭ ‬treachery,‭ ‬adultery,‭ ‬incest,‭ ‬theft,‭ ‬perjury‭ – ‬every crime known to man has been committed by some one or other of the race of monarchs from whom King George is proud to trace his descent.
‭'‬His blood‭
‬Has crept through scoundrels since the flood.‭'

Ours be the task to enlighten the ignorant among our class,‭ ‬to dissipate and destroy the political and social superstitions of the enslaved masses and to hasten the coming day when,‭ ‬in the words of Joseph Brenan,‭ ‬the fearless patriot of‭ '‬48,‭ ‬all the world will maintain:
‭'‬The Right Divine of Labour
To be first of earthly things‭;
‬That the Thinker and the Worker
Are Manhood's only Kings.‭'

King George though seems to have enjoyed his stay.‭ ‬On‭ ‬12‭ ‬July from Dublin Castle he issued a 'Letter of Thanks' for the reception he and his children had received.

It ended with the following passage:
Looking forward,‭ ‬as we do,‭ ‬to coming amongst our Irish people again,‭ ‬and at no distant date,‭ ‬and repeating in other parts of the Country the delightful experience of the last few days,‭ ‬we can now only say that our best wishes will ever be for the increased prosperity of your ancient capital,‭ ‬and for the contentment and happiness of our Irish People.

King George though was to be somewhat disappointed - as he never again set foot in the Fair City. It was to be 100 years before another British Monarch did so.