Northern Ireland

Queen's Baton Relay continues Northern Ireland visit

Baton at the Giant's Causeway Image copyright Glasgow 2014
Image caption The baton relay visited some of Northern Ireland's most well-known landmarks on Wednesday

The Queen's Baton Relay has been touring some of Northern Ireland's most famous landmarks on the second day of its four-day visit.

The baton has been to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the Giant's Causeway.

It was also taken taken by ferry to Rathlin, Northern Ireland's only inhabited island.

The relay visited Londonderry and Fermanagh, before ending the day in Enniskillen.

'Wonderful welcome'

BBC broadcaster Mark Beaumont followed the baton for the international leg of the Queen's Baton Relay and witnessed its arrival at the Giant's Causeway.

He said: "We've seen a wonderful welcome. I think it was very appropriate to bring it here to the Giant's Causeway. It's such a short hop from here to Scotland and to Glasgow."

Media captionChris Page reports on the Queen's Baton Relay as it visits the north coast

"And it's really a continuation of the celebrations that we've witnessed all around the Commonwealth.

"Let's remember that this journey started back on 9 October and it's been around 63 nations and territories before getting to the British Isles.

"It's now making that final journey and for that part it is slowing down and spending more time in each country, and rightly so."

The baton than travelled by ferry to Rathlin island and was carried ashore by youngster Ryan Cecil, who is one of about 100 people who live on the island.

Closest to Scotland

Local school children were then given the chance to get a look at the baton and meet Commonwealth Games' mascot Clyde.

Rathlin is approximately 15 miles (25km) from Mull of Kintyre and is the closest the baton will get to Scotland until 13 June when it arrives the the north east of England.

Image caption The baton was taken across the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge earlier

Later, the Queen's Baton passed under Derry's Peace Bridge on a boat powered by eight rowers.

The baton-bearer on board was Aileen Reid, a Derry-born triathlete who will compete in Glasgow this summer.

Around 20 people came on to the bridge to watch the baton come down the River Foyle.

Cathy Coyle's son and daughter were on the boat carrying the baton.

Her son Adam, 10, was the cox and her daughter, Chelsea, was one of the rowers. Both have been members of the city's Prehen Boat Club for years.

She said: "I'm very proud of them. It's a great achievement for the boat club to have the Queen's Baton come up. It's a very positive thing for the city."

Image caption Triathlete Aileen Reid carried the Queen's baton up the Foyle with a rowing crew

Opportunity

The Queen's Baton Relay is the traditional curtain-raiser to the Commonwealth Games and has been included in the games programme since the Cardiff games in 1958.

It contains a sealed message from the Queen that will be read out at the opening ceremony.

The baton was presented to Northern Ireland's first minister and deputy first minister on the steps of Stormont by Dame Mary Peters on Tuesday.

School children were then given the opportunity to relay the baton in Ards Borough Council, North Down, Antrim and Coleraine.

The baton has been on an extensive journey around the world, visiting 63 nations and territories of the Commonwealth in the past seven months.

By the end of the relay, the journey will have taken 288 days over a distance of 118,000 miles (190,000km).

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