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Queen continues journey of reconciliation in Ireland as she visits Croke Park

18 MAY 2011

The Queen won widespread respect as she bowed her head in Dublin's Garden of Remembrance in silent recognition of those who died fighting against the British crown.

And on Wednesday the monarch's journey of reconciliation continued during her first trip to the Irish Republic.

The 85-year-old visited Croke Park - the scene of one of the darkest episodes in the history of British-Irish relations.


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It was at this football ground – now an 82,000-seater stadium – in 1920 that British soldiers shot dead 13 spectators and one player during a Gaelic football match.

This was in retaliation for the death of 14 British intelligence agents at the hands of the Irish Republican Army.

Wearing yellow, the monarch was greeted by officials at the stadium – the home of Ireland's Gaelic Athletic Association.

They had pledged to give her a warm welcome, and certainly delivered on that promise.

After receiving a tour of the locker room and the stadium facilities, the Queen was led out onto the pitch. 



The visit was the perhaps the most significant of her trip in acknowledging past wrongs committed by Britain during its years of ruling Ireland.

Earlier in the day, the Queen - then dressed in a white and turquoise hat and a matching coat of swiss wool - paid a solemn tribute to Ireland's war dead, laying a wreath of poppies at the Islandbridge memorial in Dublin.

The memorial - now in pristine condition - was derelict for a long time because of the contempt felt towards those who had fought in the name of the crown.

Day two of the sovereign's historic trip began with a visit to the Guinness Storehouse, where she and Prince Philip watched "the perfect pint" being poured.

The Duke jokingly asked: "Is it made with Liffey water?" referring to the river running through the Irish capital.

Both the royal visitors declined the offer of trying the beverage, though Philip is said to have gazed longingly at the pint before he moved on.

David Cameron is due to join Her Majesty on Wednesday night at a state banquet at Dublin Castle, where the Queen will give the only public address of the four-day trip.

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