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  1. ITV Report

Olympic Torch makes historic visit to Ireland

Jedward carry the Olympic Torch outside the site of the declaration of the Irish republic Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

The Olympic Torch crossed the border of Northern Ireland into the Republic today, in a symbolic gesture representative of the journey Britain and Ireland have made towards peace.

Olympic boxing medallists Wayne McCullough and Michael Carruth took part in an emotional early morning handover ceremony witnessed by Games chief Lord Seb Coe.

Crowds cheered as the two boxers embraced at a remote site near Newry.

Olympic silver medal winner Wayne McCullough kisses Olympic gold medal winning boxer Michael Carruth Credit: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Belfast man Wayne McCullough said the journey of the Torch was a "major step" for the people of Ireland.

I am from the Shankill Road in Belfast, I have never had any problems like religion.

It is a major step for everybody, people are coming together.

Dubliner Michael Carruth said the occasion summed up everything that is "good about sport"

It is a fantastic occasion for everyone, north and south of the border. It is fantastic, the torch is what is good about sport.

Children from both sides of the border lined up to watch the ceremony, which also featured and an Irish Wolfhound and some ancient Irish warriors in full costume.

Irish historical re-enactors from 'The Tain' pose with the Olympic Torch at the border Credit: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Pat Hickey, president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), said the crossing of the border is a way of celebrating peace in Northern Ireland for the last 15 years.

We are going to have a spectacular day. The OCI is the Olympic committee for the island of Ireland so how could you have the torch in part of the island and not coming down to the capital of the Republic?

Thousands lined the streets of Dublin to see the Olympic Torch pass through a number of historic sites:

  • Croke Park, the national stadium of Ireland
  • The General Post Office (GPO), where the Republic of Ireland was declared in 1916
  • Dublin Castle, the seat of the English Government and administration for Ireland until 1921
  • The Garden of Remembrance, dedicated to "all those who gave their lives for Irish Freedom"

Pop duo Jedward carried the flame down the centre of Dublin and stopped at the GPO.

John and Edward Crimes carry the Olympic Torch down O'Connell Street Credit: Press Association

The Olympic Torch's tour of Ireland began in Belfast on Sunday, with 400 torchbearers taking part in a five-day relay. Other people running with the flame today include Olympians Sonia O'Sullivan, Dame Mary Peters, Irish rugby player Shane Horgan and TV presenter Colin Murray.

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