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British Queen visits Dublin's symbolic Croke Park stadium By Fiona Smith

Other News Materials 18 May 2011 20:43
Britain's Queen Elizabeth visited Wednesday Croke Park
British Queen visits Dublin's symbolic Croke Park stadium By Fiona Smith

Britain's Queen Elizabeth visited Wednesday Croke Park stadium, the site of a massacre by British forces in 1920, as security remained tight for her historic first visit to Ireland, dpa reported

The British monarch's visit to the headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), where 14 unarmed citizens where killed during the War of Independence (1919-1921), is seen as a highly-symbolic moment of reconciliation in Anglo-Irish relations.

The President of the GAA Christy Cooney said that he was "delighted to welcome the Queen to Croke Park and that the visit would "advance the peace process."

The Queen earlier honoured the memory of those who died fighting for the British during the First World War at a 30-minute ceremony at the Irish War Memorial Garden in Islandbridge.

The garden commemorates the 49,400 Irishmen and women who died fighting for the British in the First World War.

The Queen, who laid a wreath at a memorial for those who died "in the cause of Irish freedom" Tuesday, is the first British monarch to visit the Republic of Ireland.

The Queen met the Irish Prime Minister at Government Buildings earlier Wednesday and also paid a visit to the museum of the Guinness brewery, where she and the Duke of Edinburgh were shown the "perfect pint" of Guinness.

Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore said the visit shows that both countries are coming to terms with their "complex history."

British Foreign Secretary William Hague also in Ireland for the visit, said the visit was "hugely significant" and that only a tiny minority were opposed to it.

"It speaks to the past, but it does show that we're able to move on to the future, and make the most of normal relationships with friendly neighbours."

The British Prime Minister David Cameron is also expected in Dublin Wednesday evening, where he will attend a state dinner for the Queen at Dublin Castle.

The Queen's much-anticipated and only speech during her visit which ends in Cork Friday will be made at the dinner.

There is much speculation about whether the Queen will refer to or express implicit regret for the conflicts arising from Ireland's past colonial status.

Ireland gained independence from British rule in 1922, but the six largely Protestant counties of Northern Ireland remained British.

The violent conflict between Catholic nationalists who wanted a united Ireland and Protestants loyal to the link with Britain was brought to a resolution with the signing of the Good Friday Peace Agreement in 1998.

The implementation of the agreement has led to the Queen's visit, welcomed by most Irish people as a sign of the normalization of the relationship between the two countries.

Security remains tight across Dublin Wednesday, but there was no repeat of Tuesday's protests in Dublin city centre.

Late Tuesday, 20 men were charged with public order offences arising from disturbances in the city.

The army bomb disposal team was called out twice to suspicious devices late Tuesday and early Wednesday

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