Higgins to visit Italy next week
President Michael D Higgins will make an official visit to Italy next week.
The trip is part of two overseas engagements he will carry out during Ireland's presidency of the European Union.
He is due to make an official trip to France later in February.
The visit to Italy from next Wednesday will begin in Rome with an address to the James Joyce Italian Foundation Conference at the University of Roma Tre on migration, and a reception at the Villa Spada.
The President, who will be accompanied with his wife Sabina, will visit the Pontifical Irish College and meet the rector, Father Ciaran O'Carroll, and staff and students before a business event.
President Higgins will also visit the Church of San Pietro in Montorio, the burial place of the exiled Gaelic earls Hugh O'Neill and Rory O Donnell.
On Thursday evening the President will meet the president of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, at the Quirinale Palace and will be the guest of honour at a concert and reception to mark Ireland's presidency of the EU.
The trip will end with a meeting with Jose Graziano da Silva, director general of the United Nations food and agriculture organisation, and a visit to the Franciscan S Isidore's Church, whose rector is Father Michael MacCraith.