Europe

PM says Queen's visit to Ireland was a 'game-changer'

The Queen meets Enda Kenny
Image caption The Queen met Enda Kenny, the Taoiseach of Ireland, in Dublin

The prime minister has described the Queen's visit to the Republic of Ireland earlier this year as a "game-changer" in Anglo-Irish relations.

In an interview for Irish state broadcaster RTE, David Cameron said the visit put the relationship between the two countries onto a new level.

The visit in May was the first by the Queen to the Republic and was greeted with only minor protests.

Mr Cameron said relations between London and Dublin had been improving.

He said the Good Friday agreement and the end of the Troubles in Northern Ireland had created a thaw in once-frosty relations.

But he said of the Queen's visit: "It's been a game-changer, to use that terrible modern expression."

He told RTE: "What was already a strong relationship, and what was already becoming warmer and more positive because of the settling down of the Northern Irish issue, I think her visit has just put that into a massive new perspective."

'Warmed Irish hearts'

He pointed out the Queen had started her keynote speech during the visit in the Irish language, and Mr Cameron said: "She just warmed the hearts of people, and so this true relationship - that I think had been going on between British people and Irish people for years - has really now been able to flower."

In spite of security concerns, the visit passed off with very little protest, and 20,000 people were on the streets of Cork for the final leg of the Queen's four-day tour.

The Queen's visit was the first time a British monarch had visited Dublin and the south of Ireland since King George V in 1911, when Ireland was still part of the British Empire.

Five years later the Easter Rising broke out in Dublin and, after several years of political violence, the modern Irish state came into being in 1922.

On Tuesday evening RTE is broadcasting a special documentary on the historical significance of the visit, entitled The Queen's Speech.

President's residence

The Queen and Prince Philip's signatures on the visitors' book at the official residence of the Irish president

Garden of Remembrance

Wreath-laying at the Garden of Remembrance, the Queen (left) with President Mary McAleese (right)

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Trinity College

The Queen inspects the Book of Kells at Trinity College

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Government Buildings

The Queen signs the visitors' book at Government Buildings, while meeting the Irish prime minister, on right

National War Memorial Gardens

Irish veterans meet the Queen and the Irish president at the Irish War Memorial Gardens

Guinness Storehouse

The Queen visited Dublin's Guinness Storehouse, where she was served a pint of Ireland's famous tipple.

The Queen is offered a pint at the Guinness Storehouse

Croke Park

The Queen and Prince Philip receive a hurley stick, at Croke Park stadium

Dublin Castle

The Queen wore a diamond harp brooch for her speech at Dublin Castle

Irish National Stud, Kildare

The Queen views the stallions at the Irish National Stud

Cashel

The Queen leaves the Rock of Cashel after a tour of the historic monument.

Cork

The Lord Mayor of Cork, Michael O'Connell, shows the Queen the best of Irish produce at the English Market.