Dissident Republican protesters fail to ruin Queen's garden party
Queen serenaded by Westlife, Mary Byrne, Cheftains and 'Riverdance' stars
Dissident Republican supporters have again failed to disrupt the Queen’s visit to Dublin after police arrested 12 protestors close to the venue for Thursday night’s gala concert.
Queen Elizabeth was guest of honor at an indoor garden party hosted by British Ambassador to Ireland Julian King at Dublin’s new National Convention Centre on the banks of the Liffey.
The first British monarch to visit the Republic since the foundation of the State was serenaded by Westlife, X-Factor sensation Mary Byrne, the Chieftains and artists from Riverdance in the impressive new auditorium.
As host Gay Byrne introduced the star studded show so a special sitting of Cloverhill District Court heard charges against 12 protestors, 11 men and one woman, who were arrested on public order offences at Connolly railway station hours earlier.
They were intercepted on their way to the Convention Centre by police who discovered a collection of fireworks, rockets, flares, bottles, fishing lead and other potential missiles on their person.
Of the 11, police say 10 of them were known Republican sympathizers.
The Queen and her entourage in a 2,000 strong crowd at the cultural evening were unaware of the latest failed protests.
Instead they spent their evening listening to the likes of Westlife, Byrne and former Eurovision winner Eimear Quinn.
Together with President Mary McAleese, the Royals were also entertained by the National Symphony Orchestra in a stage show organized by Docklands businessman Harry Crosbie with Riverdance founder John McColgan as artistic director.
A fashion show featuring works by the likes of John Rocha, Louise Kennedy, Michael Leong and Victoria Beckham also enthralled the Queen and her husband Prince Phillip.
Amongst those in attendance were current Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and his wife Fionnula along with former state leaders Bertie Ahern, John Bruton and Albert Reynolds and one time President Mary Robinson.
Formula One boss Eddie Jordan rubbed shoulders with businessman Denis O’Brien, theatre director Garry Hynes, showbiz manager Louis Walsh and writer Colm Tóibín.
Catholic primate of Ireland Cardinal Seán Brady, who recently attended the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in London’s Westminster Abbey, was also present.
Artistic director John McColgan said: “When we were asked to do this, we thought we would put our best foot forward and try and put together a combination of Ireland’s best across the spectrum.”
The Queen had visited the Irish National Stud in Kildare earlier in the day where she met champion jockey Johnny Murtagh and leading trainers Jessica Harrington and Willie Mullins.
Chairperson of the Irish Racing Board Chryss O’Reilly, wife of newspaper magnate Tony, thanked the Queen. “You are always welcome here,” said Mrs O’Reilly.
“We thank you for visiting the National Stud and for your gracious support for Irish racing.”
The Queen attended a private lunch at the Aga Khan’s stud farm Gilltown, near Kilcullen in County Kildare.
Her four day visit to Ireland concludes on Friday when she will view the Rock of Cashel and travel to the English Food Market in Cork city centre.
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