Belfast Telegraph

Guest list drawn up for royal event

Two thousand guests have been invited to celebrate Ireland's links with Britain at a special ceremony during Queen Elizabeth II's first official visit to the country.

Ambassador to Ireland Julian King is to host the so-called "return event" - an evening of fashion, music and theatre at the Dublin Convention Centre in the city's docklands.

President Mary McAleese will be the guest of honour at the event on May 19.

"This is the first State Visit to Ireland, our closest neighbour," the Ambassador said. "We wanted to mark this historic occasion, and to reflect the huge support and interest there has been in this visit."

The evening's entertainment is being produced by Harry Crosbie, one of the key figures in the redevelopment of the docklands, Riverdance director John McColgan, film-maker Gerald Heffernan and magazine publisher Norah Casey.

Westlife and former X Factor contestant and supermarket worker Mary Byrne are among the headline acts to be confirmed, and the event is expected to be shown live on RTE.

The Ambassador said: "We have put together a programme that showcases the best of British and Irish fashion, and brings together on one stage some of the finest performers working in Ireland today.

"It promises to be a memorable occasion, an opportunity to celebrate the Queen's visit, but also the love of music, the spoken word, fashion, and design that people from across our two countries share."

The British Embassy in Dublin said the Ambassador would be hosting the event on behalf of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

The return event is standard practice during a State tour when the visiting country arranges a special occasion for the host country.

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