Queen Elizabeth II spends the last of her four days in Ireland visiting Cork on May 20, 2011, where she once again is greeted warmly. Despite initial concerns about security, the visit proves to be a huge success for both countries. The Queen’s apology at Dublin Castle for the treatment her government meted out to Ireland over many years is received with enormous positive, emotional response.
Large crowds line the streets in Cork city centre and the Queen is given a tour of the city’s English Market by the Lord Mayor of Cork, Terry Shannon. She meets some stall owners and speaks to members of the public after she leaves the market. There is a carnival atmosphere on the streets of Cork and the visit is more relaxed than many engagements in Dublin.
The Queen and Prince Philip also visit the Tyndall Institute, which is run by University College Cork. While at the institute, they meet twins Hassan and Hussein Benhaffaf and their mother Angie. Earlier, they visit the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary and pay a private visit to Coolmore Stud.
The Queen indicates she would like to return to Ireland for another visit. Taoiseach Enda Kenny says he invited her to return as she boarded her flight at Cork Airport. Kenny says the Queen told him she and the royal party enjoyed the visit. He pays tribute to everyone involved in the State visit. He says Ireland responded magnificently to the visit, from the President right down to ordinary people, who showed restraint and understanding.
Kenny says the Queen had received a real Irish welcome, which he says demonstrates the importance of a new beginning for both islands. He says that Ireland has measured up to the highest global standards and the county can be proud.
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore says the visit has enhanced Ireland’s reputation abroad at a time when there are only negative headlines. He says that, because of the visit, the world is finally getting a picture of a country that does things well and that is working through its difficulties.
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams says that, while expressing concerns about Queen Elizabeth’s visit, he also hopes some good will come from it.
At Cork Airport she walks to her plane passing an army guard of honour and Taoiseach Enda Kenny is there to bid her farewell. The plane departs bringing an end to her four-day State visit.
(From: “Queen Elizabeth II concludes Irish visit,” RTÉ.ie, the website of Raidió Teilifís Éireann, May 20, 2011)