Queen's itinerary: day two


Queen Elizabeth will make a historic trip to Croke Park tomorrow on the second day of her State visit to the Republic.

The British monarch’s visit to the GAA headquarters, the scene of a massacre by British troops in 1920 during the War of Independence, is another hugely symbolic event, reflecting a new era in relations between the countries.

The stadium has been site of a number of watershed moments in Anglo-Irish relations in recent years.

In February 2007, it hosted the Six Nations rugby match between Ireland and England where the British national anthem was played in the stadium for first time.

The GAA has said it hopes the Queen’s visit will encourage a greater interest and participation in Gaelic sports by Irishmen and women of the unionist tradition.

The Queen and her husband Prince Philip, accompanied by President Mary McAleese and her husband Martin McAleese, will be greeted at the stadium by GAA president Christy Cooney and the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan.

As the royal party enters the stadium, 34 children dressed in GAA jerseys of each county, including the colours of New York and London clubs, will line the forecourt.

The second day of the Queen’s itinerary will start with a trip to the Guinness Hop Store at St James’s Gate.

At the famous brewery, the 85-year-old monarch will be introduced to the “master brewer” who will demonstrate how to pour the perfect pint of stout.

Later in the morning, the Queen will meet Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Government Buildings, which is on record as being the last major building construction under British rule in Ireland.

The foundation stone for the building was laid by the Queen’s predecessor, King Edward VII in 1904.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore and Attorney General Máire Whelan will be among the members of the Cabinet present.

The last of her morning’s engagements will see the Queen visit the Irish War Memorial at Islandbridge.

In what promises to be another symbolic moment, the British monarch and President Mary McAleese will lay wreaths at the memorial to the 49,400 Irish soldiers who perished in the first World War.

The visit to Islandbridge is understood to have been specifically requested by Buckingham Palace during the preparations for the visit, and to be particularly important to the Queen herself.

Following the wreath-laying, the Queen and Prince Philip will be shown artist Harry Clarke’s illuminated manuscripts containing the names of all the soldiers commemorated at the memorial.

The Queen will then return for a private lunch at Farmleigh before visiting Croke Park in the afternoon.

British prime minister David Cameron is due to join the royal delegation later tomorrow before attending a State dinner in the Queen’s honour at Dublin Castle tonight.

The black-tie event, at the symbolic former seat of British rule in Ireland, will be attended by 172 guests from all walks of public life.

At the start of the dinner, Mrs McAleese will make a short address concluding with a toast to the Queen.

The Queen will then make what is being billed as a “major” speech on relations between the two countries, and what both governments have described as the diplomatic highlight of her four-day visit.