Queen’s sympathy for Ireland’s painful past

The Queen is to head to the Irish countryside on day three of her tour of the Republic – after offering her “deep sympathy”
to all victims of Anglo-Irish conflict

Ireland’s President McAleese introduced banquet guests to the Queen


Castle during an historic state dinner as part of the ongoing Anglo-Irish reconciliation process.

She offered her “deep sympathy” to those who had suffered in centuries of conflict between Britain and Ireland.

The monarch, who was making the only speech of her four-day state visit, opened her address welcoming her host, Irish President Mary McAleese, in Irish, “A hUachtarain agus a chairde” – president and friends.

Her Majesty, whose cousin Lord Mountbatten was blown up by the IRA off the County Sligo coast in 1979, said: “It is a sad and regrettable reality that through history our islands have experienced more than their fair share of heartache, turbulence and loss.

“These events have touched us all, many of us personally, and are a painful legacy. We can never forget those who have died or been injured or their families.

“To all those who have suffered as a consequence of our troubled past I extend my sincere thoughts and deep sympathy.

The Queen paid tribute to the victims of the Croke Park massacre

“With the benefit of historical hindsight we can all see things which we would wish had been done differently or not at all.”

After sharing a toast the banquet began, with British Prime Minister David Cameron sitting at the head table along with Irish premier Enda Kenny. British Foreign Secretary William Hague was also in attendance.

After dinner the royal couple were escorted from the banquet hall by the president and departed in an official Range Rover shortly before 10.30pm.

Earlier in the day the Queen took centre stage at Dublin’s iconic Croke Park Gaelic football and hurling stadium.

It was at Croke Park that British forces opened fire at a match in 1920, leaving 14 people dead.

The atrocity, an apparent revenge attack after 14 British intelligence officers were killed by the IRA, was the first in Ireland to become known as Bloody Sunday.

The monarch also laid a wreath at the Irish National War Memorial in Islandbridge in memory of the men and women who died fighting for independence, and the 49,000 Irish soldiers killed in the First World War.

Anti-monarchy protesters sought to make their presence known by setting off fireworks on city streets ahead of the state dinner, but were kept at a safe distance by barricades and police lines.

Prince Philip casts a lingering gaze over a fresh pint of Guinness

The Queen and Prince Phillip started the day by visiting the Guinness Storehouse, where they watched a pint being poured by a master brewer.

Both declined the offer to have a taste of the black stuff – although Prince Philip appeared to linger, looking at the drink for several seconds, before walking on.

The prince also made a characteristically frank remark upon being shown one of the company’s most famous artefacts.

The Queen laid a wreath at Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance

Referring to the 9,000-year lease that founder Arthur Guinness signed for an old, disused and dilapidated brewery at St James’s Gate, the Duke asked: “What kind of mug signs that?”

On Tuesday the Queen laid a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance honouring all those who died in Ireland’s fight for independence in the early part of the 20th century.

The royal party also attended a private viewing of the Book of Kells at Trinity College.

The first official royal visit since independence has taken place amid the biggest security operation ever mounted in the state, with thousands of police and armed soldiers on the streets of the capital.

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