President Michael D Higgins has told Britain’s Queen Elizabeth that her visit to Ireland in 2011 was “a moment of healing."
In response to a message from the Queen expressing her “congratulations” and “best wishes” to the people of Ireland ahead of St Patrick’s Day, President Higgins conveyed the importance of the Queen’s visit a decade ago.
“Your special memory of your visit to Ireland ten years ago this year, is one that is shared and invoked regularly by all of us in Ireland, being as it was in its generosity of spirit such a moment of healing,” he wrote.
Queen Elizabeth II had penned a letter to the president ahead of Ireland’s national holiday, expressing her “congratulations” and “best wishes” to the people of Ireland.
“This year marks ten years since my visit to Ireland, which I remember fondly, and it marks a significant centenary across these islands,” she wrote.
The Queen even signed off with a cúpla focail: “Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona daoibh go léir - Elizabeth R.”
Back in 2011, Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip visited Ireland for four days in May.
It was the first visit by a reigning British monarch to Ireland in 100 years.
During her time in Ireland, the Queen paid a visit to traders in Cork’s English Market, laid a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance, visited Croke Park and attended a State dinner in her honour at Dublin Castle.
President Higgins said the Queen’s visit did much to “deepen our shared sense of the breadth and vibrancy of the connections between our two countries at every level.”
“It will continue to inspire the achievement of those possibilities in the future that we might share.”
Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona daoibh go léir— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) March 16, 2021
Ahead of #StPatricksDay tomorrow, The Queen has sent her best wishes to the people of Ireland ➡️ https://t.co/FQv88xVz5q
📷Her Majesty is pictured with @PresidentIRL and during her historic visit to Ireland in 2011. pic.twitter.com/4OKpaAp74v
President Higgins said he knows St. Patrick’s Day will be celebrated in the hearts of generations of Irish people who have made their home in Britain, “and their British friends and family” as well as by the many British people who have happily made their home in Ireland.
“I know that the movement and circulation of our peoples is a source of continuing joy for us both.”
President Higgins concluded his message by wishing the Queen and her family a happy and peaceful St Patrick’s Day: “Guim La Fheile Padraig sona agus siochanta ort agus ar do mhuintir."