Britain's queen to visit Ireland May 17-20

7th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Queen Elizabeth II will visit Ireland on May 17-20 in the first state visit by a British monarch since the republic gained independence in 1922, Buckingham Palace said Thursday.

The queen will be accompanied by her husband Prince Philip for a visit which will be surrounded by tight security following the murder of a policeman in neighbouring Northern Ireland this month.

Confirming the dates and the itinerary of a trip already announced, the palace said the queen would be welcomed in Dublin by President Mary McAleese, before meeting new Prime Minister Enda Kenny.

The royals will be guests of honour at a state dinner at Dublin Castle, which was the seat of power at the time of British colonial rule of Ireland.

The programme includes a visit to Croke Park, the home of Gaelic football and the scene of a day of violence in the Irish War of Independence when British soldiers shot dead 14 people in November 1920.

The royal couple will also visit the Guinness Storehouse, a popular visitor attraction celebrating Ireland's famed national drink.

They will indulge their shared passion for horses when they visit the Irish National Stud in Kildare.

The last visit to Ireland by a reigning British monarch was by the 84-year-old queen's grandfather, king George V, in 1911, a decade before the Republic of Ireland won independence from Britain.

The visit to Ireland will take place three weeks after the queen's grandson William marries Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey on April 29.

© 2011 AFP

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