Friday 28 July 2017

Croke Park massacre site on Queen's itinerary today

Britain's Queen Elizabeth lays a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance. Photo: Reuters
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II listens to the story of the traditional Irish Harp, from Harpist Siobhan Armstrong who was playing during a tour at Trinity College. Photo: PA
Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh, with the Provost of Trinity College Dublin Dr. John Hegarty and British Foreign Sec William Hague view the foundation Charter of the College at Trinity College. Photo: PA

Alan Jones

The Queen will tour Croke Park today - the site of a British massacre of Irish civilians – on the second day of her state visit.

The event represents another milestone in public acknowledgements by the monarch of past wrongs committed by Britain during its rule of Ireland.

Yesterday when the Queen arrived in the Irish capital for the start of her historic tour, she laid a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance, which honours all those who died for Irish freedom in the early part of the 20th century.

In 1920 as Croke Park, today an 82,000-seater stadium, hosted a Gaelic challenge match, British soldiers shot dead 12 spectators and one player - an atrocity that became known as "Bloody Sunday".

A further victim later died from his injuries.

The attack was an apparent reprisal as the night before Irish nationalists had shot dead 14 members of the British Armed Forces - members of a team of undercover agents working in Dublin.

The stadium is the home of the Gaelic Athletic Association which has pledged to give the Queen a warm greeting when she arrives.

British Prime Minister David Cameron will also join the Queen today for part of her trip - highlighting the importance of the visit.

Mr Cameron will hold talks with Taoiseach Enda Kenny before joining the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at a lavish state dinner at Dublin Castle hosted by President Mary McAleese in honour of the royal couple.

The monarch will give her only speech of her four day state visit during the banquet and Mrs McAleese will also make an address.

During the day the Republic's First World War dead will be honoured by the Queen when she visits the Irish National War Memorial to lay a wreath.

The ceremony builds on the symbolic reconciliation in 1998 when the Queen and the President unveiled a tower on the site of the battle of Messines Ridge in memory of the Irish dead of the First World War, and to inaugurate the Island of Ireland Peace Park.

It was the first public event undertaken by an Irish and British head of state.

The popular tourist attraction of the Guinness Storehouse is also on the royal itinerary and will be a relaxing visit for the royal couple who will watch the 'perfect pint' being poured by a master brewer.

Ireland may be famous for the black stuff but the Queen's favourite tipple is gin and Dubonnet served with two ice cubes and a slice of lemon.

The day's busy round of trips will also see the royal couple meet Mr Kenny at his department in Dublin's Government Buildings.

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