Queen in Ireland, 2011

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be starting their first Official Visit to the Republic of Ireland later today, and to mark the visit, we are taking a look back at the Queen’s monumental State Visit in 2011, which was the first visit by a British Monarch in over a century, and marked the end of decades of conflict.

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The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh arrived in Dublin on May 17th, immediately going to Áras an Uachtaráin, the residence of the President of Ireland in the Phoenix Park, where they was welcomed by President McAleese, inspecting a guard of honour and planting an oak tree beside the Peace Bell in the garden, before travelling to the Garden of Remembrance where the Queen and President laid a wreath. Later, the Royal Couple visited Trinity College Library, where they viewed the ninth-century Book of Kells and the 15th-century Trinity College Harp, and shook hands with many academics, before retiring to Farmleigh for a private evening.

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On the second day, the Queen and Duke visited the Guinness Storehouse, Government Buildings, and the National War Memorial Gardens, as well as the Croke Park sports stadium, which was the site of the shooting of football spectators by British forces in 1920. In the evening, President McAleese hosted a State Banquet in honour of the Queen (wearing the Girls of Great Britain & Ireland Tiara) and Duke at Dublin Castle, which included speeches by both the Queen and the President.

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The third day of the visit included a tour of the Irish National Stud in Tully, County Kildare followed by a visit the Aga Khan’s Gilltown stud south of Kilcullen in County Kildare and lunch with the Aga Khan and his family. In the evening, the Queen hosted a Return Reception at the National Convention Centre in Dublin. On the final day, the Queen visited the Rock of Cashel in Cashel, County Tipperary, on her way to Cork, visiting the Coolmore Stud, the world’s largest horse-breeding operation, in Fethard, County Tipperary and then the English Market on Princes Street ahead of unscheduled walkabout along the Grand Parade, before going to Tyndall National Institute, a research centre which is part of University College Cork. The Queen and Duke departed Ireland in the afternoon to return to the United Kingdom.

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