State visit to Ireland – day 1

On 22-24 May, The King and Queen visited Ireland at the invitation of Ireland's President Michael D. Higgins. The state visit focused on digitalisation, sustainability, healthcare, culture and cooperation within the EU and the UN.

The three-day visit took place in Dublin, Athlone, Galway and Burren. The Swedish Government was represented by Minister Margot Wallström, Minister Anders Ygeman and State Secretary Maja Fjaestad.

Official welcoming ceremony

At the official presidential residence Áras an Uachtaráin, The King and Queen were welcomed by President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina Higgins. The countries' national anthems were played during the ceremony.

The welcoming ceremony at the official presidential residence Áras an Uachtaráin.

The welcoming ceremony at the official presidential residence Áras an Uachtaráin. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

The King and Queen and the Presidential couple during the welcoming ceremony.

The King and Queen and the Presidential couple during the welcoming ceremony. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

The King inspected the guard of honour and then planted a sessile oak, the national tree of the Republic of Ireland. The previous state visit to Ireland took place in 1992, when The King also planted a tree.

The King inspects the guard of honour.

The King inspects the guard of honour. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

The King planted a sessile oak outside Áras an Uachtaráin.

The King planted a sessile oak outside Áras an Uachtaráin. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

Wreath-laying

In the Garden of Remembrance, The King laid a memorial wreath from The King and Queen dedicated to the Irish who gave their lives during the Irish War of Independence.

Find out more about the Garden of Remembrance hereexternal link, opens in new window.

The wreath laid by The King was dedicated to the Irish who gave their lives during the Irish War of Independence.

The wreath laid by The King was dedicated to the Irish who gave their lives during the Irish War of Independence. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

Visit to Croke Park

Croke Park is home to Ireland's largest voluntary association for culture and traditional sports, the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). At the association's museum, The King and Queen and the Swedish delegation saw an exhibition about traditional Irish sports. Next to the museum is the Croke Park stadium, where hurling and Gaelic football were demonstrated.

The King and Queen at the Gaelic Athletic Association Museum.

The King and Queen at the Gaelic Athletic Association Museum. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

Hurling is a team sport in which the players use a wooden stick called a hurl to hit a small ball over or under the opponents' crossbar. The sport has been played in Ireland for more than 4,000 years.

The King and Queen learn more about the traditional Irish sport of hurling.

The King and Queen learn more about the traditional Irish sport of hurling. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

In Gaelic football, the players can use both their hands and their feet to score goals with the football, which is smaller and heavier than a regular football. The rules of the game were devised in the 16th century.

The Queen greets young people taking part in Fun & Run, an activity arranged by the Gaelic Athletic Association.

The Queen greets young people taking part in Fun & Run, an activity arranged by the Gaelic Athletic Association. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

Fun & Run is a specially designed programme that focuses on the integration and inclusion of people with disabilities into Gaelic games, while also giving participants the chance to take part in 60 minutes of moderate to powerful activity.

Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

Find out more about Croke Park hereexternal link, opens in new window.
Find out more about The Gaelic Athletic Association hereexternal link, opens in new window.

Swedish industry in Ireland

The state visit included an industry delegation from Business Sweden, with representatives from 15 Swedish businesses that have links to Ireland. During a lunch hosted by the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, The King and Queen met the various businesses and learnt about their work.

Find out more about the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Ireland hereexternal link, opens in new window.

The King and Queen and the ministers with the industry delegation from Business Sweden.

The King and Queen and the ministers with the industry delegation from Business Sweden. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

Reception hosted by the Lord Mayor of Dublin

The King and Queen and the Swedish delegation were welcomed by the Lord Mayor of Dublin (the Ardmhéara), Nial Ring, for a reception at Mansion House.

The King and Queen at the reception hosted by Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring.

The King and Queen at the reception hosted by Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

During the reception, The King and Queen met Irish citizens with links to Sweden.

Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

During the reception, The King gave a speech in which he thanked the Lord Mayor for his hospitality and the warm welcome.

Read the speech in full hereopens in new window.

Find out more about the Lord Mayor of Dublin hereexternal link, opens in new window.

Meeting with the speakers

At Ireland's parliament, The King and Queen were welcomed by Speaker of the Lower House Seán Ó Fearghaíl and Speaker of the Upper House Denis O'Donovan for a meeting. Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström and State Secretary Maja Fjaestad also took part in the meeting.

Find out more about the Houses of the Oireachtas hereexternal link, opens in new window.

The King and Queen with Speaker of the Lower House Seán Ó Fearghaíl.

The King and Queen with Speaker of the Lower House Seán Ó Fearghaíl. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

State banquet

On the first evening of the state visit, President Michael D. Higgins and Mrs Sabina Higgins hosted a dinner at the official presidential residence in honour of The King and Queen.

The King and Queen arrive at the official presidential residence for the evening's state banquet. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

The King and Queen arrive at the official presidential residence for the evening's state banquet. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

The King and Queen with President Michael D. Higgins and Mrs Sabina Higgins.

The King and Queen with President Michael D. Higgins and Mrs Sabina Higgins. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

During the evening, The King gave a speech to the guests in which he said:

"It is my hope and conviction that this state visit will contribute to even stronger bonds and cooperation between our two countries."

Read the speech in full hereopens in new window.

Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

The Presidential couple and The King and Queen welcome the guests to the evening's banquet.

The Presidential couple and The King and Queen welcome the guests to the evening's banquet. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

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» Find out about the second day of the state visit hereopens in new window.

» Find out about the third day of the state visit hereopens in new window.