Rumors that British monarch Queen Elizabeth is planning a visit to the County Kerry tourist town of Killarney have been heightened by a planned visit to the same town by the British Ambassador to Ireland next week.
Ambassador Julian King is planning a visit to Kerry next week. Although ostensibly the purpose of the visit is to see 3 Irish Open Golf Championship, Julian King will also visit Muckross House on the invitation of the house trustees.
King’s decision to also visit the media during his stay in the region has fuelled speculation that his visit is a diplomatic precursor to a visit to the town by the Queen, to take place next year.
The historic visit, which will mark a significant all time high in Anglo-Irish relations, was brought about largely by the publication of a British government report into the Bloody Sunday Massacre which unlike its maligned predecessor, laid the blame for the deaths squarely at the door of the British troops.
Tourism Minister Mary Hanafin has already endorsed a promised welcome from Killarney’s booming tourism industry to the Queen if or when she arrives.
Queen Victoria visited the area during a four day trip in 1861, spending two nights as guest of the landlord Herbert family in Muckross House and two nights in Killarney House with Lord Kenmare as host.
“The ambassador has had long-standing invitation to come to the house and this happens to coincide with his visit to the golf championship," Muckross House’s Chief Executive told The Irish Examiner newspaper.
"I don’t think people should make too much more of it than that.
"But, at the same time, we’re keeping our fingers crossed and you never know what will happen.
"We’ll be saying to the ambassador that it would be great if the queen came to Killarney and would appreciate if he put in good word for us.
"We’ll certainly be showcasing the best Killarney has to offer," he said.
The Queen is due to visit Ireland in August 2011.
Greatest quotes of Irish hero Michael Collins recalled