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14 game-changing moments of 2011

These were the catalysts for some of the upheavals at home and abroad this past year…

WAS IT THE moment Enda Kenny gave the Vatican what for? The moment Tripoli fell to Libyan rebels? The day Queen Elizabeth II became the first British monarch to set foot on the turf at Croke Park since the 1920 Black and Tans massacre there?

This was a year of momentous change, of upheaval, instability and revolution – and these were some of the catalysts:

14 game-changing moments of 2011
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  • Queen Elizabeth II visits Croke Park

    Queen Elizabeth ll's first official visit to Ireland had several landmark moments but one of the most emotive was when she set foot in Croke Park on May 18, 2011. The stadium was the scene of a massacre by British Black and Tans troops in 1920. (Anwar Hussein/EMPICS Entertainment/PA Images)
  • Barack Obama tells Ireland it is inspirational

    US President Barack Obama's speech at College Green, Dublin, on 23 May tried to instill some national pride back into the country and said that "America will stand by you". (Maxwells/PA Wire)
  • The baton of power changes hands

    Labour and Fine Gael's coalition government took power on this day, 9 March, after February's general election which saw Fianna Fáil decimated and Sinn Féin gain a number of seats. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
  • Greece fights against austerity

    Riot police and protestors at Syntagma Square in Athens were separated by a cloud of tear gas on 29 June as protests against austerity measures hit a climax. Greece has since changed government and teetered on the edge of financial default. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
  • David Cameron refuses to sign EU fiscal agreement

    The UK found itself lost in translation as it became the only one of the 27 EU to outright refuse a new EU fiscal agreement this month. The euro, meanwhile, continues to hold on - but for how long? (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
  • Nature is not selective in its fury

    This man, Yoshikatsu Hiratsuka, grieved for his mother who was killed in the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Despite its reputation as one of the most advanced countries in the world, some towns were completely levelled in the face of the natural disaster. It has been pointed out, however, that the death toll would have been even higher had it happened in a less developed country. (AP Photo/The Yomiuri Shimbun, Hiroto Sekiguchi)
  • Tunisian President becomes first leader to fall in Arab Spring

    Two men try to remove a torn photo of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in the centre of Tunis on 16 February as he finally flees to protests and flees the country. Tuniais gets its first multiparty government - and other Arab nations are inspirated to follow. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
  • UK riots reveal a divided society

    Some locals in Tottenham, north London took to the streets after a 29-year-old man was shot dead by police on 4 August. Riots spread to other UK cities in the following week as looting and vandalism infiltrated the protests and an underclass of disaffected young people showed their hand. (Lewis Whyld/PA Wire)
  • #Occupy protests go global - and this picture dominates

    This photograph of 84-year-old Dorli Rainey, pepper-sprayed in the face at the Occupy Seattle anti-capitalist/banking protest struck a chord with similar protests around the world - but also with previously disinterested onlookers. (AP Photo/seattlepi.com/Joshua Trujilo)
  • When we realised that famine hadn't gone away...

    Aid agencies made a huge effort to alert us to the famine in the Horn of Africa - this child was treated for malnutrition in Dadaab, Kenya on 23 July - more than two million children were on the cusp of starving to death. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)
  • The rebels advance on Gaddafi...

    This picture from 23 August shows rebel Libyan fighters trample on a statue head of Moammar Gaddafi inside his captured compound in Tripoli. The city's Green (now Martyrs) Square had been seized the previous day. Gaddafi was killed on 20 October. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)
  • The moment of Osama bin Laden's death

    US President Barack Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton react to live footage of US Navy Seals attacking bin Laden's compound in Pakistan on 1 May. (The White House/Flickr.com)
  • The moment State separated from Church?

    Taoiseach Enda Kenny's strong criticism of the Vatican and the Catholic Church in Ireland following the release of the Cloyne report in June was taken badly by Rome - but very well by the Irish public. (Screengrab from Dáil footage)
  • Terrorism can strike from the inside

    The massacre of scores of people on Utoya island and in Oslo horrified the normally stable society of Norway - especially when the chief suspect turned out to be a lone Norwegian called Anders Behring Breivik. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

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