The Queen on a guided tour of the Rock of Cashel when she visited in May of 2011
The death of the Queen of England, Elizabeth II last week, after a reign of over 70 years, brought back memories in this part of the world of her Royal Visit to the Rock of Cashel on Friday, May 20, 2011.
A wet and overcast morning miraculously cleared and the sun came out as the helicopter carrying the 85-year-old Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh landed at the Hoare Abbey field.
The Queen, in front of representatives of the world press including our own Aileen Hahesy, and finely selected dignitaries, was welcomed to the Rock by the Mayor of Cashel, Cllr Michael Browne.
Bravely the Sinn Féin Mayor had defied his party to greet the British Monarch on behalf of the people of his home town. It was a groundbreaking and seminal handshake for which the late councillor, who was seriously ill with cancer at the time, was widely praised and is now kindly remembered.
The security around Cashel, long before and during, the Royal Visit was colossal with an estimated 600 gardaí on duty from all over the country. Gardaí had also been posted around the Rock the night prior to the visit.
Many tributes were paid to the people and businesses of Cashel as well as Town Council and county council staff for the magnificent efforts made to have the town postcard picture perfect for the visit of the Queen and Prince Philip.
Queen Elizabeth greeting the site guides and six students from Cashel Community School.
The images of the iconic Rock with the Royal party present were beamed worldwide in what subsequently became a huge boost for local tourism.
During the visit the Queen and Royal entourage viewed the imposing 12th century St Patrick’s High Cross and the conservation works being undertaken in the oldest section of the site, Cormac’s Chapel, which dates from 1134.
After signing the visitors’ book, the Queen and Prince Philip moved to the adjoining hall where four Brú Ború musicians struck up some lively traditional Irish music as the Queen and Prince Philip met with the local waiting dignitaries.
The final part of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s visit to the Rock was to meet with the Cashel site guides and six Cashel Community School students, Patrick Walsh, Saoirse Fitzgerald, Christopher Bowes, Robert Anglim, Elizabeth Ryan and Grainne Ryan.
The Queen then departed bound for world-famous Coolmore Stud near Killenaule.
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