8 APR 2014
State Visit by The President of Ireland
On 8th April 2014, His Excellency Michael D. Higgins (b.1941), The President of Ireland (Uachtarán na hÉireann), accompanied by his wife, Sabina (b.1944) visited the UK for the first ever State Visit by a President of Ireland.
Following the official welcoming ceremonial at Windsor Castle, The President and Mrs Higgins departed for London. After laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Mr Higgins and his wife took time to visit the Mountbatten Memorial - in honour of Mountbatten and Edwina. Then, The President and Mrs Higgins went to The Palace of Westminster, where Mr Higgins addressed both Houses of Parliament.
President Michael D. Higgins & Mrs Higgins
paying their respects at the Mountbatten Memorial,
Westminster Abbey, London
President Michael D. Higgins addressing
both Houses of Parliament at The Palace of Westminster. The Speaker of The House of Commons -
The Rt Hon. John Bercow, is seated left
Mrs Higgins, President Michael D. Higgins, Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh
at the State Banquet in honour of the President of Ireland at Windsor Castle
Later the same day, The President of Ireland was guest of honour at the official State Banquet, hosted by The Queen at Windsor Castle along with 160 guests which included Irish rugby player Brian O'Driscoll (b.1979), actor Sir Daniel Day-Lewis (b.1957), broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan (1938-2016), actress Fiona Shaw (b.1958), fashion designer and milliner Philip Treacy (b.1967) and Sinn Féin politician (and former IRA Commander) Michael McGuinness (1950-2017), the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.
The 160 guests were firstly served fillet of Isle of Gigha Halibut, accompanied by young leeks and a fine herb sauce. The main course was tornadoes of Windsor beef with wild mushrooms and a watercress purée, served with purple sprouting broccoli, Hollandaise sauce and a baked onion stuffed with Parmesan and bulgar wheat. Dessert was a vanilla ice cream bombe with a Balmoral redcurrant sauce - all of which was accompanied by a range of fine French wines, champagne and port.