Queen to visit National Stud

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II will visit the country's flagship horse breeding centre today as she continues her four-day Irish tour.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II will visit the country's flagship horse breeding centre today as she continues her four-day Irish tour.

The Irish National Stud in Kildare has produced some of the country's preeminent thoroughbreds.

The Queen's cavalcade will then travel to Gilltown stud in Kilcullen, where she will be given a guided tour and meet one of the greatest racehorses of all-time, Sea the Stars.

The stud is owned by the Aga Khan and he will host a special private reception for the Queen before she makes her way back to Dublin.

Later this evening a gala dinner, concert and fashion show in the Queen's honour will be held at Dublin's Convention Centre.

Mary Byrne, Westlife and the Chieftans are among those who perform and there will be a showcase of fashion from some of Ireland's leading designers including Louise Kennedy and John Rocha.

Last night the monarch offered her deep sympathy to everyone who has suffered in centuries of conflict between Britain and Ireland.

In a moving address in Dublin Castle she spoke of the painful legacy of the past and the need to remember all those whose lives have been affected.

She said the relationship had not always been straightforward but stopped short of delivering an apology for Britain’s actions in Ireland, saying looking back both nations could have acted differently.

The Queen, whose cousin Lord Mountbatten was blown up by the IRA off the Co Sligo coast in 1979, said: “It is a sad and regrettable reality that through history our islands have experienced more than their fair share of heartache, turbulence and loss.

“These events have touched us all, many of us personally, and are a painful legacy. We can never forget those who have died or been injured or their families.

“To all those who have suffered as a consequence of our troubled past I extend my sincere thoughts and deep sympathy.”

President Mary McAleese said a new chapter of partnership and friendship had opened between the two countries.

She added the visit is the culmination of the success of the peace process in the North.

She said: “This evening we celebrate a new chapter in our relationship that may still be a work in progress, but happily has also become a work of progress, of partnership and friendship.”

She described the past as a repository of bitterness but hoped the future could be different.

“I am particularly proud of this island’s peacemakers who having experienced first hand the appalling, toxic harvest of failing to resolve old hatreds and political differences, rejected the perennial culture of conflict and compromised enough to let a new future in,” she said.

The Queen’s speech came midway through her state visit here during which she laid separate wreaths in honour of the men and women who died fighting the British for independence and for the 49,000 Irish soldiers killed in the First World War. The ceremonies took place at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin and the Islandbridge National War Memorial.

Dissident republicans protested as she was on her feet, but police kept them well away from Dublin Castle where the 172 guests included politicians and churchmen on all sides in the North and the Republic. The only party not represented was Sinn Féin.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and British Prime Minister David Cameron were among the guests who also included the North's First Minister Peter Robinson.

He was accompanied by his wife Iris, the disgraced MP who resigned after admitting to an affair with a teenage lover. It was her first public appearance in 15 months.

Celebrities included Ireland rugby captain Brian O’Driscoll and his actress wife Amy Huberman, who also were invited to the glittering royal wedding of Prince William.

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