Belgian Royals begin state visit

The heads of the Belgian royal family today began a busy three-day state visit to Ireland which included several joint and separate engagements.

The heads of the Belgian royal family today began a busy three-day state visit to Ireland which included several joint and separate engagements.

King Albert II and Queen Paola were welcomed to the country by President Mary McAleese at a tree planting ceremony at Aras an Uachtarain.

The Belgian head of state later met with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern at Iveagh House while his wife visited the National Gallery.

King Albert was invited to Leinster House while Queen Paola dropped in on St Ciaran’s national school in Hartstown, West Dublin.

President McAleese and her husband Dr Martin McAleese will tonight host a state dinner at the Aras in honour of the couple.

Tomorrow the royal couple will visit the Spire, the GPO, Trinity College, Georgian-style doors on Fitzwilliam Square and Powerscourt House and Gardens in Co Wicklow.

A meeting with the Lord Mayor, Cllr Paddy Bourke is also on the itinerary.

On Wednesday, the royals will visit Bunratty Castle and Folk Park in Co Clare before journeying on to the Cliffs of Moher on the Atlantic coast.

They will leave the country from Shannon Airport in the afternoon.

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