22 January-Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria visited the Dublin in 1853 to visit the Great Industrial Exhibition. She visited the home of William Dargan the engineer from Carlow, Ireland who built most of Ireland’s railway network. She offered him a baronetcy in recognition of his services but Dargan declined her offer. By the time of her visit she had been queen for 18 years.

Queen Victoria was born Alexandrina Victoria on May 24th 1819. She became queen of the United Kingdom at the age of 18, on the death of her uncle William IV on 20 June 20th 1837 and reigned for over 63 years. She was a constitutional monarch with relatively little direct power but she did attempt to influence government policy. During her long reign, which is often referred to as the Victorian era, England went through a period of great change and expansion socially and economically. Her period as queen also saw a great expansion of the British Empire.

Eight years into her reign Ireland was hit by the Great Famine. During the following four years over a million Irish people died and as many more emigrated. Queen Victoria personally donated £2,000 to famine relief in Ireland. This was the largest private donation made and she encouraged others to contribute also.

Queen Victoria visited Ireland on four occasions. Her first visit lasted from 2nd to the 12th of August 1849. It was portrayed as the queen showing solidarity with the people in the aftermath of the famine. With her husband Prince Albert she visited Dublin Belfast and Cork and by all accounts was given an enthusiastic welcome. She herself wrote ‘The enthusiasm and excitement shown by the Irish people, was extreme’.

Her second visit to Ireland took place from August 30th to September 3rd 1853. She came to Dublin with her husband and two of their children to show her support for the Great Industrial Exhibition of 1853 which had been organised and sponsored by William Dargan. She visited the exhibition every day during her time in Ireland.

Queen Victoria Visited Ireland again from 21st to 29th of August 1861. The queen and her husband visited the Curragh where their son the Prince of Wales was doing military training. From there the royal party went to Kerry where they spent four days in Killarney.

The fourth and final visit by Queen Victoria to Ireland began on April 3rd 1900. She stayed for three weeks and visited schools and hospitals. Though greeted by large crowds her visit was objected to by some nationalists.

Nine months after her final visit to Ireland Queen Victoria died aged of 81 at Osborne House, Isle of Wight in the year 1901 On This Day.

Queen Victoria and others by National Library of Ireland on The Commons on 1900-04-04 02:13:07

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