The Queen of England is to pay a state visit to Ireland – the first official tour of the Republic of Ireland by a British monarch.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “The Queen has been pleased to accept an invitation from the President of Ireland to pay a state visit to Ireland this year. The Queen will be accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh.”
A date for the visit has not been released but it is widely expected to be in May.
The Queen will be following in the footsteps of her grandfather George V, who came here in 1911, before independence.
In a statement, the office of President Mary McAleese said the timing of the visit would be confirmed at a later date.
“President McAleese is pleased to announce that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has accepted an invitation to visit Ireland this year,” it said.
“The dates of the visit and the programme will be announced jointly by Aras an Uachtarain and Buckingham Palace in due course.”
The leader of Fianna Fáil Micheál Martin has welcomed the announcement.
Mr Martin said: "This State visit is in many ways a further milestone in the transformation of relationships between our countries that has been ongoing for many years and will act as another step in the journey of reconciliation.
"Britain is our nearest neighbour and our largest trading partner and there are many ties between the people of our two countries.
"This visit is an endorsement of the peace strategy pursued by Irish and British Governments over a number of decades and will be a catalyst for further enhancements in north / south and east/west co-operation, to the economic, social and cultural benefit of all."