Queen seeks reconciliation on 4-day Irish tour

(AP Photo/Tony Maxwell, pool)

May 18, 2011 7:49:06 AM PDT
Queen Elizabeth II's journey of reconciliation to Ireland took her on Wednesday to the site of a notorious massacre where British troops killed 14 Irish civilians in 1920.

The queen's visit to Croke Park on the second day of her historic trip to the Republic of Ireland highlights the vast improvement in Anglo-Irish relations since those dark days. It brought the English monarch to a large sports stadium that is a revered spot for Irish nationalists who mourn those who died there during the conflict with Britain.

The seats of the stadium - the home of the Gaelic Athletic Association - were empty, a sign of the extensive security during her visit. A band played, its sounds echoing off the stadium walls.

The queen and her husband Prince Philip began the day with a visit to the Guinness Storehouse, one of Ireland's most popular sites, and also saw the famous Gravity Bar, which offers a panoramic view of Dublin.

Master brewer Fergal Murray expertly prepared a pint of Guinness for the queen in the Gravity Bar, but she declined after smiling broadly. Prince Philip gazed at the brew with obvious longing but also walked away without a taste.

Earlier, he had joked with Murray, "Is it made with Liffey water?" referring to the nearby river.

The Guinness tour struck a light note on an otherwise serious visit.

The queen, in an ivory outfit with oversize blue buttons that matched her hat, went directly from the Guinness building for a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.

Later Wednesday, she will make her only public speech of the four-day visit during a state dinner hosted by Irish President Mary McAleese, who invited the queen to visit Ireland.