Sir Terry Wogan, a Limerick-born star of the British Broadcasting Corporation, died 31 January after a short bout with cancer. He was 77. Read the BBC’s obituary.
In The Guardian, Martin Kettle writes that Wogan rarely drew explicit attention to his Irishness.
And yet, although he lived, worked and died in Britain, was knighted by the Queen, and was never reluctant to wave the union jack when the needs of the BBC required it, his Irishness was there whenever he opened his mouth. For more than 40 years he was probably the most prominent Irish person, and certainly the most familiar Irish voice, in Britain, rivaled for fame only by [footballer] George Best and Bono, neither of whom could match Wogan’s length of time in the spotlight.
…Whether he liked it or not, Wogan was a significant Irish presence in Britain right through the era of Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley. To some Irish nationalist eyes that may perhaps brand him as someone who made dubious accommodations with Britishness at a sensitive time. To his British listeners, however, and possibly to many of his Irish ones too, Wogan was a reminder that there was also much more to the British-Irish relationship than nationalist and loyalist politics, and that people on both sides of the Irish Sea have more in common than some of them sometimes like to pretend.
Irish Times columnist Martin Doyle wrote that “Ireland has had no finer ambassador to Britain.” Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Wogan “acted in no small way as a bridge between Ireland and Britain.”
A lot of media coverage came rolling out of Northern Ireland as U.S. President Barack Obama and other leaders gathered for the G8 summit June 17-18. First Lady Michelle Obama and her two daughters also visited the Republic of Ireland.
There were plenty of security concerns before the summit. Who could imagine such an international gathering in Northern Ireland in past decades? While the two-day event was a costly inconvenience to residents of nearby Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, there was no violence.
A bomb was found near the Lough Erne resort hosting the summit, but it turned out to be a remnant from a World War II mortar range.
Links to some of the best Ireland- and Northern Ireland-related stories follow below:
- “Northern Ireland has languished out of the headlines and a gradual erosion of the peace process has taken place,” writes Irish Central founder Niall O’Dowd. “That is why the visit of President Obama is so vital.”
- Michelle Obama, Bono and families lunch at Dalkey pub.
- Significant progress has been made in the 15 years since the U.S.-brokered Good Friday Accords, including a Catholic-Protestant government and the disarmament of the IRA and outlawed Protestant groups responsible for most of the 3,700 death toll. But tearing down Belfast’s nearly 100 “peace lines” — barricades of brick, steel and barbed wire that divide neighborhoods, roads and even one Belfast playground — is still seen by many as too dangerous. Obama cited that playground in his speech, lauding an activist whose work led to the opening of a pedestrian gate in the fence.
- Obama: “If there’s one thing on which Democrats and Republicans in America wholeheartedly agree, it’s that we strongly support a peaceful and prosperous Northern Ireland. … We will keep working closely with leaders in Stormont, and Dublin, and Westminster to support your political progress.”
- The Irish Times reports U.S. President Barack Obama to press for renewed efforts to end community division in the north.
- Great headline on security-related story from the BBC: Lock down on Lough Erne.