18 May, 2011

Croke Park witnesses another piece of history:

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"Things happened in this country which deeply sadden me and I wish had never happened," - Queen Elizabeth II

Two of the most symbolic events of the Queen's four day stay in Ireland were the visit to the "Garden of Rememberance" and today's visit to GAA headquarters: Croke Park.  Croke Park was of course the sight of the first  "Bloody Sunday"  killings; when British soldiers killed opened fired and killed 14 Irish people back in 1920 on the hallowed turf on Dublin's northside.
For decades the GAA banned British sports from being played at GAA headquarters; until famously in 2007 they opened their gates to international soccer and, most spectaculorly Ireland v England in Six Nations rugby battle.

GAA President presents a hurley to the Queen of England
"Today will go down in the history of the GAA,"
- GAA President; Cork's Christy Cooney

GAA President Christy Cooney told the Queen her presence made history and honoured the amateur and voluntary organisation and its hundreds of thousands of grassroots members across the globe.
Inside the stadium he told the Queen the visit would underpin and advance peace in Ireland and he vowed that the GAA would continue to reach out to unionists.
He said: “Your presence does honour to our association, to its special place in Irish life, and to its hundreds of thousands of members.
“Today will go down in the history of the GAA.”
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