Just last week Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited Ireland on a four-day trip spanning May 17-20, to apparently heal wounds between that country and Great Britain. The Queen offered her sympathy and regret to all those who had suffered from centuries of conflict between Britain and Ireland in a powerful and personal address to the Irish nation during a speech at a banquet in Dublin Castle. The last British monarch to Ireland was in 1911, some 100 years ago.
The queen took the opportunity of her trip to visit Ireland's Croke Park stadium, scene of a massacre by British troops. In 1920, during Ireland's war for independence, British troops opened fire on a crowd at the stadium, after 14 British intelligence officers were killed in the city the night before.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth had accepted an invitation from President of Ireland, Mary McAleese to visit.
Today, President Obama and his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama landed in Ireland. The President received a ceremonial welcome from President Mary McAleese, and he planted an Irish oak in Phoenix Park, near the sequoia that President John F. Kennedy planted in 1963. In brief remarks, Obama mentioned the "blood links" between Ireland and the United States through its large Irish-American community.
President Obama like Queen Elizabeth II will visit the Croke Park where he will make a speech to the nation from the famous Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) stadium before heading onwards to Moneygall, County Offaly. At Moneygall the president will have an hour-long visit, where his great-great-great grandfather, Joseph Kearney, was born in 1830, from his mother's side.
Some believe this trip just before the 2012 presidential elections is an effort to harness the Irish-American votes during those elections.
Earlier this year in April, Prince Albert of Monaco also visited Ireland on a three day visit. He too planted an Irish Oak. The prince's trip seemed an effort to strengthn ties between Ireland and Monaco.
Exiled and soon to retire Tibetan leader, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama also visited Ireland in April of this year. The Dalai Lama attended the POSSIBILITIES 2011 civic summit. The summit was organised by three Irish non-profit organisations: Afri, Children in Crossfire and SpunOut.ie and aimed to inspire people, young and old, to become vocal and active in transforming Ireland, and our planet for the better.
The Dalai Lama completed a two-day visit to Ireland
Following the visits of other world leaders Pope Benedict XVI will also be visiting Ireland in June 2012, where he will celebrate mass at Croke Park in Dublin. The 2012 visit by the Pope is bound to spark reaction if not protests from the victims of clerical sex abuse after the Vatican's refusal to co-operate with the commission of inquiry into the archdiocese of Dublin.
In 2010 Pope Benedict XVI wrote a letter addressing the sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests, which was thought to be an apology.
Ireland is the third-largest island in Europe it lies west of Great Britain, separated from it by the Irish Sea. The island is divided between the Republic of Ireland, which covers just under five-sixths of the island, and Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. Under 4.5 million live in the Republic of Ireland, and just under 1.8 million live in Northern Ireland.
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