Friday, May 20, 2011
Bloody Sunday Remembrance
On 21 November 1920, during the War of Independence, 13 spectators and one player were killed when British forces opened fire at a football match at the home of Gaelic sports at Croke Park.
Earlier that day, IRA assassination squads had shot dead 14 suspected British intelligence agents in Dublin.
During the first visit by a British monarch to Ireland in 100 years, Queen Elizabeth visited Croke Park stadium in Dublin.
The Queen was met at the main entrance of Croke Park by Gaelic Athletic Association president Mr Cooney and President Mary McAleese, who is hosting the visit.
A display of Irish set dancing was followed by a meeting with GAA officials.
The BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt said the Queen walking out on the hallowed nationalist turf at Croke Park represented "the once unimaginable becoming the norm".
Addressing the Queen, Mr Cooney said the visit would underpin and advance the peace process and "go down in the history of the GAA. Your presence does honour to our Association, to its special place in Irish life, and to its hundreds of thousands of members."
The Queen was presented with a limited edition book outlining the GAA's history, and Prince Philip was presented with a hurley stick and a sliothar (hurling ball), with the aside that he should use it "in the back garden".
Dublin footballer Kevin Nolan, who was one of four players from across Ireland to meet the Queen at Croke Park, told Radio Ulster's Evening Extra it was a "great honour" to represent the GAA at the event.
Her speech at Wednesday's state dinner is likely to acknowledge past UK-Irish difficulties without offering an apology, he added.