State visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to Ireland

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II accompanied by her husband, His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh embarked on a four-day state visit to Ireland in May. As part of our country’s protocol in marking the visit, the Defence Forces had over 500 military personnel participating in a variety of ceremonial parades. It has taken months of planning and weeks of rehearsals for all concerned.

The Arrival at Baldonnel Aerodrome

The Royal Flight arrived at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel at 12 noon. The Royal party was met by An Tánaiste, Mr Eamon Gilmore TD and Major General Dave Ashe (Deputy Chief of Staff - Support).

Queen Elizabeth II inspected an Air Corps Courtesy Guard of Honour under the command of Captain Kevin Phipps. She was then driven to Áras An Uachtaráin under motorcycle escort. The escort (29 All ranks) was provided by the 2nd Cavalry Squadron under the command of Captain Laura Keane.

Áras an Uachtaráin

On arrival at Áras An Uachtaráin, Queen Elizabeth accompanied by Lieutenant General Sean McCann (Chief of Staff) and Brigadier General Denis Murphy (General Officer Commanding 2nd Eastern Brigade) inspected a joint (Army, Naval Service and Air Corps) Captains Guard of Honour, under the command of Captain Thomas Holmes (5th Infantry Battalion).

Find out More about a Captains Guard of Honour

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Armstrong conducted a combined Defence Forces band during the inspection, playing both the UK and Irish national anthems. 

Other military honours rendered included a 21-gun salute, commanded by Commandant Denis Hanley and an Air Corps Fly Past (four PC-9m Pilatus aircraft) with Captain Paul Kelly leading the flight.

The Garden of Rememberance

Following an audience with a President Mary McAleese and a tree planting ceremony in the grounds of Áras An Uachtaráin, Queen Elizabeth and President McAleese  travelled to the Garden Of Remembrance at Parnell Square, Dublin City centre. Again, they were given a motorcycle escort from the 2nd Cavalry Squadron.

Read More about the History of the Escort of Honour

On arrival at the Garden of Rememberance Queen Elizabeth and President McAleese were received by Minister For Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr Alan Shatter TD, Lieutenant General Sean McCann, Major General Dave Ashe and Brigadier General Denis Murphy. A Cadet Honour Guard under the command of Captain Derek McGourty rendered honours, while a Defence Forces Band, under the baton of Lieutenant Colonel Mark Armstrong played a short musical tribute. Queen Elizabeth laid a wreath and following a one minutes silence, Captain Joe Freeley recited the poem Rinneadh Aisling Dúinn.

Queen Elizabeth II at Áras an Uachtaráin

Irish National War Memorial Gardens

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II arrived at the War Memorial Gardens, Islandbridge, Dublin and was received by the COS Lt Gen Sean McCann and GOC 2 E Bde Brig Gen Dennis Murphy who escorted the Queen to meet An tUachtarán, Mary McAleese.  The President and Queen Elizabeth II were conducted to a position in front of the Cenotaph. Waiting for them at the Cenotaph was a Cadet Guard of Honour, drawn from the 87th Cadet Class, under the command of Capt Derek McGourty, along with flag bearers carrying the flags of the United Nations, the Union Flag of the United Kingdom and the three Divisional Flags of the British Legion.

When the dignitaries were in position at the Cenotaph the OIC of the Honour Guard gave the order to present arms - 'CUIRTÉIS DO BHANRÁON EILÁS A DO - TAIRGIG AIRM' and the Army band under the baton of Lt Col Mark Armstrong played The National Anthem of The United Kingdom.

When the National Anthem was completed the Guard of Honour performed the Reverse Arms drill movement.

Wreaths were then laid, at the Cenotaph, by Queen Elizabeth and President McAleese . A Minutes silence was observed followed by the piper's lament, 'Oft in the Stilly Night', played by Sgt John McGuinn (Defence Forces School of Music).

The General Salute was given by the Cadet Guard of Honour and the Last Post was played. The National Flag was hoisted to full mast, by Lt Philip Quinlan, to the accompaniment of a drum roll and Reveille was then sounded. The military ceremony concluded with the playing of The National Anthem, 'Amhrán na bhFiann'.

Queen Elizabeth II at the War Memorial Gardens

The queen finished her visit in Cork City.  From the Tyndall National Institute Queen Elizabeth II travelled to Cork airport where she was due to depart.  On arrival at the airport she was greeted by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD, The Chief of Staff, Lt Gen Sean McCann, and the GOC 1 Southern Brigade, Brig Gen Paul Pakenham. 

The Queen was given a Captains Courtesy Guard of Honour, drawn from the 4th Infantry Battalion Cork, under the command of Capt Tim Egar.


Find out more about Defence Forces Ceremonials

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