We met the President! I was so focused on getting clothes for the children, that I never stopped to think what it would actually be like to ‘meet’ him.
We were met by friendly staff who took our coats, we had a photo opportunity beside the huge christmas tree in the hallway, and then we queued to go in to see Michael D and Sabina. They were both so warm and friendly, and when I told them Charlie was going to be Ireland’s first astronaut they said that was wonderful and they would keep an eye out for him.
We met Santa in the next room, and he reassured us he was bringing a present for Rex 🙂
The Children received a Newbridge Silver Christmas decoration which says ‘Aras an Uachtarain, Christmas 2011’, it has three small crystals embedded in it. What a wonderful keep-sake!
We next made our way into the state banquet room, and had ‘the best 7up ever!’ The food was delicious chicken goujons, tiny sandwiches (with no crusts), and honey glazed sausages – which the server assured us were Santa’s favourite.
As we listened to the silver band playing and the local primary school singing Carols, I thought this might, just might, be the best family Christmas event we have ever attended.
Yes we have been ice-skating, been to see Santa in Arnotts in Dublin (Irish Tradition) been to the Panto at The Gaiety (another tradition) and even watched Santa leave the North Pole on the Santa-Cam last year. But there was such a calm, relaxed, child centred atmosphere at the Aras – that it’s hard to imagine a perfect kids party in such formal surroundings – but it completely worked!
They had the best magician Jack Wise www.jack.ie who had the kids laugh out loud as he embarrassed dads!
As we walked outside I seen a podium and never to miss an opportunity, I walked up and said, in reminiscent of the Pope in Ireland in 1979 – ‘People of Ireland…’ however I hadn’t bargained on the mic being on, and my voice booming all over the Aras house and lawns – so I quickly stepped away from the mic, to laughs and cheers of all those close by!
We then assembled outside (coats on) for the turning on of the Christmas Tree – it was wonderful positive and proud to be Irish event. Let’s face it over the last few months we have been almost made to feel shame for the demise of the elusive Celtic Tiger, and the Euro crisis.
But on Thursday 8th December, we felt proud to be Irish, hopeful of a new President who is a writer and poet himself. Hopeful that despite all the hardship – that life goes on, and Christmas is coming and the children are SO excited! They know nothing of the Euro Crisis or Redundancy – but they know everything about Christmas and the innocent anticipation of Santa who is due here two weeks today 🙂