Queen ends Ireland visit with tourism focus

The Queen has concluded her state visit to Ireland by visiting two of the country’s most popular tourist sites, the Rock of Cashel, followed by Cork.

The first two days of her visit focused on the “troubled past” between Britain and Ireland, and she offered her sympathy to those who had suffered during the conflict.

However the second half has seen her focus more on tourism and leisure.

The monarch and her husband Prince Phillip were shown around the Rock of Cashel and later the ancient market of Cork.

On Thursday the Queen was shown around the Irish National Stud horsebreeding centre in Kildare, west of Dublin, and later attended a show by fashion designers and Irish performers.

ADVERTISEMENT

Former Taoiseach [prime minister] John Bruton told BBC Radio 4 Today’s programme that Ireland had been “waiting a very long time for what should be normal between two neighbouring states” and the Queen’s visit was very “symbolic”.

“The fact the Queen herself has come, that she has put so much effort into it, displayed so much stamina and has been so warmly welcomed by people here, that is going to make a difference to the tone of the relationship,” he said.

“It is going to make life much easier for the many Irish people living in Britain who now can find that their allegiance to the UK and their allegiance to Ireland are more easy to reconcile.”

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said: “I was particularly taken by Queen Elizabeth’s sincere expression of sympathy to all those who had suffered in the course of the conflict and I think that was very genuine.”

The Queen’s historic four-day visit is the first to the Republic of Ireland by a reigning British monarch.

The security operation surrounding the visit is one of the biggest mounted by the Republic of Ireland and there have been no public walkabouts for the Queen and Prince Philip due to the threat from dissident republicans.

However, the visit has so far passed off with only a few minor scuffles between protesters and police.

Twelve people appeared in court in Dublin on Thursday night after Irish police recovered rockets, flares and fireworks.