Queen visits Croke Park stadium

The Queen took centre stage at Dublin's iconic Croke Park gaelic football and hurling stadium today in a historic new act of Anglo-Irish reconciliation.

After laying separate wreaths in memory of the men and women who died fighting for independence, and the 49,000 Irish soldiers killed in the First World War, she toured the city's spectacular sporting arena in the latest engagement of an extraordinary royal visit to the Republic.



It was inside the ground in November 1920 when British soldiers shot and killed 14 civilians attending a football match - an atrocity which has lingered in Ireland ever since, especially on the terracing behind one set of goals where it happened.



Generations of hurt and mistrust created by those deaths were set aside this afternoon as the Queen, dressed in a yellow hat and coat and accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, was met at the main entrance by Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) president Christy Cooney.



President Mary McAleese, who is hosting the visit, was also there along with a party of school children, who lined up on either side wearing the colours of GAA jerseys for each of the 32 counties as well as London and New York.



Security was again tight. A group of dissident republicans protested on a street less than a kilometre away, but a heavy police presence made sure they were kept well away from the stadium, the spiritual home of hundreds of thousands of GAA fans throughout the world.









The Queen heard about the finer points of hurling and football in the stadium changing rooms where she met players from both codes. She was particularly interested in the shape of the ash hurley. She asked: "Is it like what they use in (when playing) shinty?"



At one stage she stood on the touchline at the entrance to the players' tunnel on the Hogan Stand side and watched a video on a huge screen about the history and playing of the games.



The Artane Band, which provides the music at most major GAA sporting events, played a selection of tunes and afterwards the Queen had a look at the GAA's two most famous football and hurling trophies, the Sam Maguire and Liam McCarthy cups.











The Queen met several senior GAA officials, but a number of others stayed away in protest. Of the nine Ulster counties, just one - Down - was represented.



But the GAA president said the visit would underpin and advance the peace process. He was deeply saddened to attend last month, the funeral of a GAA member, PSNI Constable Ronan Kerr.



Mr Cooney said: "I was also very heartened by the utter and united determination of people and political leaders across the island, and across the whole community, to stand together against violence and hatred."



Mr Cooney vowed the GAA would continue to reach out to unionists.



Addressing the Queen he added: "Your presence does honour to our Association, to its special place in Irish life, and to its hundreds of thousands of members. Today will go down in the history of the GAA."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
tvSPOILER ALERT: Like a mash-up of 28 Days Later, Braveheart, The Killing and Lord of the Rings, this GoT episode was a belter
Life and Style
Angel Di Maria is shown the red card
tech
Sport
Roger Federer after his win over Tomas Berdych
sport
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral