Jude Liddle, who owns a wine bar in London, said hostility between the two countries has faded.
“Most Irish people have forgiven us for the bad things we’ve done,” he said. “People who hate Britain won’t change their mind based on the queen’s visit, or any politician’s visit. It’s only a small percentage of the population that still care, but the resentment that does exist is strong and won’t go away until Northern Ireland is resolved. That’s the key to it.”
The queen’s trip will highlight Ireland‘s many charms, from the Guinness brewery to its Europe-leading horse-racing industry, and stunning historical monuments such as the medieval Rock of Cashel. She will be joined by her husband, Prince Philip.
Security will far exceed measures used for the 1979 visit of Pope John Paul II or for the 1990s visits of U.S. President Bill Clinton.
The national police force has canceled all leave and drafted in officers from rural areas, boosting the security detail to 8,500. They also have borrowed two mobile water cannons from Northern Ireland’s police.
The Irish Defense Forces have deployed ground-to-air missiles at key locations, plan to shut down airspace over Dublin and other locations in tandem with the queen’s movements, and are keeping more than 1,000 troops in reserve.
Britain’s Times of London reported that Ireland‘s government will allow British police protection officers to carry firearms during the visit.
Several days ahead of the queen’s arrival, police began mounting round-the-clock watches and erected security barriers at venues she is scheduled to visit, most crucially Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance, which honors two centuries of fallen rebels.
A small anti-British pressure group opposed to Northern Ireland’s peace process called Eirigi — Gaelic for “rise” — has vowed to take control of the garden two days before the queen arrives. Police say they will be blocked.
Eirigi has plastered Dublin lampposts with placards denouncing the visit — ignoring a Dublin City Council order banning such displays.
The Irish nationalist Sinn Fein party also opposes the visit.
Martin Donnellan, who retired in 2009 as the Republic of Ireland‘s deputy police commander and is a security consultant today, said anti-terrorist officers in both parts of Ireland were pursuing “a great exchange of intelligence on known terrorists and anarchists and others hellbent on disrupting this visit.” He said officers were keeping dissident IRA leaders under close surveillance.
Gregory Katz reported from London.