The Queen, the President and Ireland’s Island Peace Park, Messines – Slugger O’Toole

On 11 November 1998 in my capacity as President of the International Fund for Ireland, my wife and I had the very great honor of witnessing the inauguration of the Island of Ireland Peace Garden along with its Round Tower at Messines in Belgium by President McAleese and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

It was the first major public event involving the President and the Queen and eventually led to Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Ireland in 2011 and President Higgins’ subsequent visit to Windsor.

The International Fund for Ireland established by the Irish and British governments helped fund the late Buddy Hart T.D. of Donegal and the late Glenn Barr of Derry in their efforts to promote the reconciliation of traditions in Ireland by bringing a chill from the memories of the many Irish who fought in World War I but due to historical circumstances They have been forgotten both locally and nationally.

The International Trust for Ireland has sent many young people from both traditions and from North and South to Messines to help build Ireland’s Peace Island Park and Round Tower, in doing so they learn building skills and learn about each other’s traditions.

The park and round tower that was Buddy Hart’s vision and Glenn Barr are there for all to see to this day. The Unintended Consequences Act was inaugurated by President McAleese and Queen Elizabeth and led to a tremendous deepening of the relations between the peoples of these islands thereafter.

An interesting sequel to the opening of the Peace Garden occurred when Queen Elizabeth visited the community project led by Glenn Barr at the old Rochester shirt factory in Ebrington in the Waterside area of ​​Derry. I was there with the Board of Directors of the International Fund for Ireland in front of our backdrop which included the Round Tower in Peace Park.

When the Queen came, we had a fun, lively, and interesting conversation in which she remembered the opening of the Peace Garden herself and President McAleese, including how long it took to build the Round Tower!

At this sad time, we extend our deepest condolences to the Queen’s family and to everyone who values ​​her around the world.

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