Queen Elizabeth Visits Ireland Amid Bomb Threats, Cool Reception
The queen arrived at a military base in the country's capital of Dublin Tuesday morning in a state visit that was announced last year. She laid a memorial wreath at a garden in honor of those who died in the struggle for Irish independence from her ancestors in an effort to patch Anglo-Irish relations.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Not since a visit by the queen's grandfather exactly a century ago has a British monarch set foot in the south of Ireland. For years, the idea was anathema to many Irish, who remember how many of their forebears suffered under British rule.
But official ties have matured into a regular, working and even warm relationship between two sovereign states that are, after all, each other's closest neighbor.
"It is at last possible to say that the relationship between Britain and Ireland is simply normal. It is what it ought to be between neighboring countries bound together by strong economic, political, cultural, social, sporting and personal ties," the Irish Times said in an editorial Tuesday.
But mindful that some emotions still run high over Britain and Ireland's bloody past, authorities have mounted a massive security operation — said to be the biggest in Irish history — to ensure that the visit goes smoothly.
Ireland officially gained independence as a country in 1949, but part of the island, Northern Ireland, remains part of the United Kingdom, and has a bloody history with the Republic of Ireland.
Now, as the queen visits, a disparity in the Irish population emerges about the monarch. Younger people seemed to be more receptive to the queen's trip, while those that remember more tense times were slightly more tepid.
"Obviously there have been some fraught years with Ireland and there is a history between the two countries. But you have to put the past to bed at some stage," said Alan Goodbody, 46, an advertising hoarding fitter from London.
Echoes of that darker past reverberated in London on Monday when Irish militants opposed to the peace process in British-ruled Northern Ireland warned of a bomb while in Dublin, the army destroyed a makeshift device on Tuesday.
"I escaped an IRA (Irish Republican Army) bomb about 20 years ago in Victoria train station. It was in a litter bin and I missed it by about 10 minutes," added Goodbody.
"Everybody was concerned back then because they were more active but now it's only factions and breakaway groups that are a problem. There's more of a threat from al-Qaeda," he added.
But the queen's visit did not necessarily go as planned. Police exploded a bomb found in a bus outside of Dublin, while another bomb throat led police to suspect a second bomb, though Irish media reported it to be a hoax.
From BBC News:
John Gilligan of the Irish police said they were waiting to find out more about the device.
"We have a plan in place," he said.
"We are prepared for eventualities, we have the experience and we have a lot of cooperation with the police force in Northern Ireland, the UK security services and British police.
"These incidents are very much regrettable.
"It is such an important visit, everyone wants this visit to go well and that is what we have to get on with today."
Follow the BBC's live blog of the queen's visit to Ireland here.