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
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links