THE PRESIDENT of Ireland spoke of his honour and privilege after ending an historic trip to the UK in Coventry.
President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina were welcomed by the city’s large Irish community on Friday afternoon when he visited the Cathedral and St Mary’s Guildhall.
Around 2,000 people greeted the Irish president with Irish and British flags before they were officially welcomed by the Lord Lieutenant and High Sheriff of the West Midlands and Lord Mayor Gary Crookes at the Cathedral steps.
After waving to the crowd the pair were presented with a posy of flowers by seven-year-old Aoife McGorisk, 7, who is a pupil from Christ the King Primary School.
They then toured the Cathedral and it’s famous ruins and met Denominational Representatives in the Chapel of Unity, before walking to St Mary’s Guildhall to meet members of the city’s Irish community.
And speaking at the Guildhall about his visit to the city, the President said: “In 1944 when war was still raging, Coventry reached out to another devastated city.
“You rebuilt and rededicated your cathedral and reminded the world that humanity and compassion had not been extinguished.
“I was honoured to be welcomed to Coventry Cathedral, Coventry is rightly respected for its outstanding work in the art of healing wounds post conflict and Coventry has extended its hand of solidarity to so many cities across the world, including Cork, which was the final stage of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Ireland. It has been my privilege to continue strengthening the hand of friendship.
“I can’t think of a better place to bring this State Visit to a close than with the Irish community. Thank you for the wonderful welcome you gave Sabina and myself.”
Before arriving in Coventry, Mr Higgins visited the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon before being treated to a short performance.
He also met the Queen earlier in the week at Windsor Castle and addressed both Houses of Parliament.
Mr Higgins and his wife, Sabina, is greeted by the Lord Lieutenant and High Sheriff of the West Midlands. 16.014.007.cov.jm17
Mr Higgins is greeted by Irish dancers. 16.014.007.cov.jm5
Seven-year-old Aoife McGorisk handed the Irish President a posy of flowers. 16.014.007.cov.jm15
The Irish president is show around the Cathedral ruins. 16.014.007.cov.jm3
Two well-wishers get in the Irish spirit. 16.014.007.cov.jm2
Thousands of people gathered outside the Cathedral. 16.014.007.cov.jm14
Mr Higgins gives a speech at the Guildhall. 16.014.007.cov.jm6
Children from a host of local primary schools joined together to sing songs. 16.014.007.cov.jm28