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Across the water

Queen Elizabeth and President Higgins share St. Patrick's Day wishes and mark visit anniversary

The queen’s 2011 visit to the Republic of Ireland was the first by a British monarch.

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins and Queen Elizabeth II have shared pleasantries in correspondence to mark St Patrick’s Day and the ten-year anniversary of the visit of the British monarch to Ireland. 

The queen’s 2011 visit to the Republic of Ireland was the first by a British monarch and was during the presidency of Mary McAleese

Writing to President Higgins, Queen Elizabeth said she remembers the visit “fondly” and that the relationship between the two countries remains as important today. 

The queen wrote: 

On the occasion of your National Day, I would like to convey to Your Excellency my congratulations, together with my best wishes to the people of Ireland.

This year marks ten years since my visit to Ireland, which I remember fondly, and it marks a significant centenary across these islands.

We share ties of family, friendship and affection – the foundation of our partnership that remains as important today as ten years ago.

Lá Fhéile Padraig sona daoibh go léir. 

President Higgins made the opposite trip to the UK three years later when he made a State visit that included a banquet in Windsor and a speech to the Houses of Parliament

In his reply to Queen Elizabeth, President Higgins said: 

Ar son muintir na hÉireann, on behalf of the people of Ireland, I would like to extend my warmest appreciation for your good wishes on our national day. 

Your special memory of your visit to Ireland ten years ago this year, is one that is shared and invoked regularly by all of us in Ireland, being as it was in its generosity of spirit such a moment of healing.

It has done so much to deepen our shared sense of the breadth and vibrancy of the connection between our two countries at every level. It will continue to inspire the achievement of those possibilities in the future that we might share.”

We know St Patrick’s Day will be celebrated in the hearts of generations of Irish people who have made their home in Britain, and their British friends and family, as well as by the many British people who have happily made their home in Ireland.

I know that the movement and circulation of our peoples is a source of continuing joy for us both.

“Guím Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona agus siochanta ort agus ar do mhuintir.”

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