Today, Queen Elizabeth II embarks on the first visit to Ireland by a British monarch since her grandfather, George V, visited in 1922.
Despite very serious worries over her safety, Her Majesty has refused to cower to threats made regarding her visit.
Although the four-day trip has been praised by many supporters in both England and Ireland who see it as a landmark move in easing relations which have been long tainted by the hard-won peace in British-ruled Northern Ireland, many do not agree.
Just hours before the Queen’s arrival in Dublin, a real sense of danger posed by dissident republicans was evident as the army defused a “viable explosive device” on a bus in Maynooth, near Dublin.
In the lead-up to the Her Royal Majesty’s visit, troops carried out a controlled explosion of a suspicious package on Dublin’s light railway system and investigated an apparent hoax device in the city.
On Monday, England experienced it’s first coded bomb threat for central London from dissident paramilitaries in over 10 years.
In response to these threats, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny confirned a “comprehensive security operation” was in place and dissident behavior would not spoil the visit.
To ensure the Queen’s safety, a 10,000-strong force is being deployed at an estimated cost of 30 million Euros ($42 million), with reports that the navy will also be ready off the coast of Dublin to prevent a possible missile strike from the sea.
The Royal visit includes the Aras an Uachtarain, President Mary McAleese’s official residence, for a ceremonial welcome. This will be followed by a visit to the Garden of Remembrance, dedicated to “all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish freedom”. The final engagement will be at Trinity College where the Queen will view the Book of Kells, a ninth century gospel manuscript.