IT’S a moment they said they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.
Danielle Cantwell, 17, and her mother, Patricia, from Rochestown, Cork, had been standing behind barriers on the Grand Parade, opposite the English Market entrance, for three hours, when the Queen emerged and, to the surprise of everyone, made her way across the road to greet people.
“We didn’t think we’d get to see her,” Patricia said.
Danielle said: “But she came over to me and shook my hand.
“She asked what club I was from and I said Special Olympics Leeside Legends Athletics Club.
“She was nice. She was wearing a lovely green top. It was just brilliant, it made my day.”
Several girls from sixth class in Scoil Oilibhéir in Ballyvolane in Cork also met the Queen as she moved along the security barrier, shaking hands, smiling and chatting freely.
Their teachers, Majorie Lane and Trease Bowe, brought the students in to the city in the hope of catching a glimpse of the Queen. Never did they think they’d actually meet her.
“She asked what school had they come from, had they the day off, and had they homework off,” Majorie said.
“She was lovely, and very friendly towards them, she really made an effort with the children.
“We just felt so proud to be Irish. It’s history in the making.”
Student Shauna Moloney said she was stunned the Queen came over to meet them.
“I welcomed her to Ireland and she said thank-you. She asked us what school we were from and I said Scoil Oilibhéir and her husband said: ‘St Oliver’. He knew it,” Shauna said.
“She was very kind, she was very nice to everybody.”
Jill Buckley, who’s followed the Queen’s state visit all week, said meeting her was like a dream.
“She’s amazing for her age and her speech the other night was amazing. They were both really lovely people,” she said.
John Drew, the conductor of St Joseph’s NS Bodhrán Bookills, who performed for the royal couple on their arrival at the market, met the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip.
“I was pleasantly surprised when he came over. He asked who the boys were,” John said.
“I said these are our drummers and we’ve been practising for weeks for your visit. He was very at ease.
“It’s just been an incredible couple of weeks.
“It’s amazing the change I’ve seen in the boys, the focus on this, the media coverage they’ve got.
“They have a real sense of importance and have developed a real sense of the importance of this occasion.
“It’s something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.”
Picture: Queen Elizabeth II meets Cork people outside the English Market in the city on the last day of her state visit to Ireland. Picture: Maxwells/PA Wire
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