PRESIDENT MARY MCALEESE hosted a special state dinner in honour of the visit of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and Duke of Edinburgh at Dublin Castle last night.
Addressing the guests, which included Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, Irish rugby captain Brian O’Driscoll and Taoiseach Enda Kenny, McAleese said it was a pleasure to welcome the Queen to Dublin Castle in what “is a clumination of the success of the peace process”.
“It is an acknowledgement that while we cannot change the past, we have chosen to change the future,” the president added.
The Queen opened her speech with a line as Gaeilge before speaking about the historical importance of such a state visit. The visit “reminds us of the complexity of our history, its many layers and traditions, but also the importance of forbearance and conciliation,” she said. “Of being able to bow to the past, but not to be bound by it.”
Last night marked the first public appearance of Iris Robinson, wife of Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson, since the scandal about her affair with a 19-year-old broke last year. Robinson resigned from her positions as MP, MLA and councillor in the wake of the scandal. She and her husband attended the Dublin Castle event together.
Photos: The guests at Dublin Castle for last night’s state reception: