Officials from the British embassy, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Aras an Uachtarain visited the Rock of Cashel and the town’s Bru Boru heritage centre last Friday, as speculation continues that the Queen of England will visit South Tipperary during her forthcoming state visit to Ireland.
The delegation examined the area ahead of Queen Elizabeth’s visit, which is expected to take place around the middle of May.
The presence of officials from Aras an Uachtarain suggests that the Queen may be accompanied in Cashel by President Mary McAleese. There’s also speculation locally that Bru Boru may be used as the media centre for the occasion.
Deputy Tom Hayes announced last week that Queen Elizabeth would visit Cashel and Coolmore Stud near Fethard.
At their meeting last month members of Cashel Town Council invited the Queen to come to the town. At Monday night’s Council meeting a letter from the British ambassador Julian King stated that “the two governments are in close touch about how best to take the visit forward”, and that the Council’s request had been “noted carefully”.
Deputy Mayor Maribel Wood, who extended the invitation last month, said this week that people had been ringing her after reading last week’s front page story in The Nationalist, in which Deputy Hayes stated that Cashel and Coolmore were on the Queen’s itinerary.
She said however there was as of yet no official confirmation of the visit, although they remained hopeful.
Speculation that the Queen would visit Coolmore has been rife since her daughter, Princess Anne and her grand daughter Zara Philips visited the world famous stud in the last couple of months.
Weekend newspaper reports suggested that the Queen will also visit Croke Park, Cork city and the Irish National War Memorial Gardens at Islandbridge, a memorial designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens to the 49,000 Irish soldiers who died in the First World War.
The Queen will be accompanied on her visit to Ireland by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.
The visit will be the first to the Irish Republic by a reigning British monarch. Queen Elizabeth will be the first British monarch to visit Ireland since her grandfather George V in 1911.