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Queen Elizabeth Visits Cashel, Former Irish Ecclesiastical Capital

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh arrived at the Rock of Cashel this morning by royal helicopter, hovering over the site which was the former ecclesiastical capital of Ireland.

George IV as Prince Regent

Her visit to the Rock, the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion in 1169, marked yet another milestone in the history of Irish /English relations. As Queen of England, she became the first reigning British monarch to visit this imposing site, since her forebear King Henry II visited in 1171,  although King George IV is believed to have visited the site, while a guest of the Mathew family in Thurles, while then Prince Regent, and prior to ascending the British Throne in 1820.

On landing she was driven from the helicopter by the state Bently to the summit of the rocks outcrop. To loud applause from a group of invited guests and local dignitaries, the Queen went on to visit the 15th century building known as the Hall of the Vicars Choral. She examined a 13th century bronze enamelled Crozier, said to have belonged to Bishop King, Cormac McCarthy, together with the ancient Cashel bell, dating from early 9th century.

Many residents in Cashel felt that security was too tight and regretted not getting a closer view and a chance to properly show their appreciation to the Queen, on her acceptance of their invitation to visit.

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