Royal boost for country’s tourism

BRITAIN’S Queen Elizabeth is scheduled to visit the Rock of Cashel, and the Irish National Stud and confirmation of her intention to visit Cork will provide a welcome boost for some of the country’s most celebrated tourist attractions.

In a move approved by tourism and business chiefs, the queen will not remain in the Pale during her four-day state visit but will take a tour of what was once the seat of the Kings of Munster in Co Tipperary and, if speculation is correct, will visit the English Market in Cork city, as well as the Tyndall National Institute at University College Cork, a prestigious centre for research and development.

Conor Healy, chief executive of the Cork Chamber of Commerce, said the queen’s trip to Cork would benefit the economy: “Approximately three million British tourists visited last year putting €1m into the economy and the potential for much more exists with this visit. It is very important from a business perspective. The UK is by far Ireland’s biggest export market.

“As regards tourism, traditionally the UK was a major source of business and although figures have fallen in recent times, this is an opportunity to promote ourselves and hopefully create a spin-off in terms of visitors.”

The queen’s visit to the Tyndall Institute is “very significant in terms of recognition of its research and academic achievements” Mr Healy said, and would “hopefully lead to more opportunities for R&D collaboration with UK companies”.

The queen’s visit, from May 17-20, was triggered by an invite from President Mary McAleese in keeping with her “building bridges” theme as she approaches the end of her second term of office.

The queen’s travel dates were unveiled yesterday and she will begin her visit with a formal welcome by President McAleese at Áras an Uachtaráin.

The queen will also make a courtesy call to Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Government Buildings.

She will also tour Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance — a memorial dedicated to the memory of all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish freedom.

It is protocol for foreign heads of state visiting Ireland to pay their respects at the city centre site.

The itinerary will also include events at Trinity College Dublin, the National War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge, the Guinness Storehouse and Croke Park, the scene of the 1920 Bloody Sunday massacre, when British troops opened fire during a gaelic football match between Dublin and Tipperary, killing 14 people including Tipperary player Michael Hogan.

The Hogan Stand is named in his honour and Hill 16 is rumoured to have been built from the rubble of the 1916 Easter Rising.

However, the success of the peace process in the North has greatly eased tensions between the two nations and led to the visit being able to take place.

Britain’s close ties with the Republic saw it contribute an estimated £7 billion to the bailout package for the country’s economy.

The itinerary: What Queen Elizabeth will do and see on her May 17-20 visit to Ireland

Dublin

- Formal welcome by President Mary McAleese at Áras an Uachtaráin.

- Ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance.

- Visit to National War Memorial, Islandbridge.

- Courtesy call on the Taoiseach at Government Buildings.

- Visit to Croke Park.

- State dinner in Dublin Castle, at which both the Queen and the President will deliver speeches.

- Events at Trinity College Dublin and the Guinness Storehouse.

Kildare

- Visit to the Irish National Stud.

Tipperary

- Tour of the Rock of Cashel.

Cork

- Official reception at City Hall.

- Tour of the English Market.

- Visit to the Tyndall National Institute.


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