Belfast Telegraph

Swedish royals begin state visit to Ireland

The three-day visit will include a series of engagements, including a meeting with Irish premier Leo Varadkar.

King Carl XVI Gustaf, far left, and Queen Silvia of Sweden, far right, receive an official welcome from President Michael D Higgins, centre left, and his wife Sabina, centre right, in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)
King Carl XVI Gustaf, far left, and Queen Silvia of Sweden, far right, receive an official welcome from President Michael D Higgins, centre left, and his wife Sabina, centre right, in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden have begun a three-day state visit to Ireland.

The royals were welcomed by Irish President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina at Aras an Uachtarain in Dublin on Wednesday.

The king inspected the Guard of Honour and a 21-gun salute was fired at intervals while both national anthems were played. There was also a fly-past by the Air Corps.

A group of children from St Brigid’s girls school in Palmerstown in Dublin were among those who greeted the royal couple.

Following a meeting with the president, the king planted a tree in the grounds of Aras an Uachtarain, following in the footsteps of Pope Francis and former US president Barack Obama who have also planted trees on the lawn.

The three-day visit will include a series of engagements across the country including a meeting with Irish premier Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings.

It is the king’s second state visit to Ireland. His first visit was in April 1992.

This visit is designed to highlight the historic and modern links between Ireland and Sweden and to further strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two nations.

After leaving Aras an Uachtarain, the king attended a ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin city centre where he laid a wreath to honour all those who died for Irish freedom.

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King Carl XVI Gustaf, left, during the wreath laying ceremony in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

The royals also toured Croke Park where they met young players of Gaelic football and hurling, the national sports. The king was presented with a hurl, while the queen tried her hand at hurling.

On Thursday, the royals will visit the National Library of Ireland before the king meets Mr Varadkar and the Queen visits the Science Gallery. They will also tour the National Museum of Ireland and Trinity College in the capital.

A visit to an eco-farm in the Burren in County Clare is among the engagements scheduled for the royals on the final day of their trip.

The king and queen are accompanied by a delegation which includes Swedish foreign affairs minister Margot Wallstrom and energy and digital minister Anders Ygeman.

PA

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