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Anglo-Irish relations might be strained but we’ve overcome worse

Kim Bielenberg


An anti-British feeling is on the rise but normal relations will resume once a Brexit deal is done, writes Kim Bielenberg

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The Queen on her historic state visit to Ireland in 2011 (John Stillwell/PA)

The Queen on her historic state visit to Ireland in 2011 (John Stillwell/PA)

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The Queen on her historic state visit to Ireland in 2011 (John Stillwell/PA)

It may have been the highpoint of the relationship between Britain and Ireland. Anglo-Irish relations were never warmer than during the Queen’s visit to Ireland in 2011, when she attended a dinner with the great and the good in Dublin Castle, addressing President Mary McAleese with the words: “A Uachtarain agus a chairde” (“Madam President and friends”).

A couple of days later, there was the surreal sight of the monarch strolling around the English Market in Cork, joking with the local fishmonger Pat O’Connell. It was a scene that nobody would have envisaged during the darkest days of the Troubles.

When President Michael D Higgins paid a return state visit in 2014, even the English edition of the Daily Mail acknowledged that relations between the two countries had come a long way. Bygones seemed to be bygone, with even former IRA chief of staff Martin McGuinness attending the state dinner in Windsor Castle.


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