Palmerstown girls meet King and Queen of Sweden

by Padraig Conlon
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A group of local children were part of a special welcoming committee at Áras an Uachtaráin to greet the King and Queen of Sweden.

The young pupils from St Brigid’s Girls’ National School in Palmerstown were among a select few guests who assisted President Higgins and wife Sabina with the visit of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden.

One of the teachers who accompanied the girls, Michelle McCartan, told Dublin Gazette about their memorable day.

“It was such a great honour to be invited, we only found out three weeks ago.

“The girls were all very well behaved and showed great respect,” she said.

“Some of them were a bit nervous with the 21 gun salute!

“It was a wonderful day, one the girls will never forget.”

The Swedish royals spent the rest of the day – Wednesday 22 May – in Dublin visiting the Garden of Remembrance, where they laid a wreath in honour of all of those who died for Irish freedom, and Croke Park, following their meeting with President Higgins.

The Aras meeting was the opener to a three day visit from the royal’s organised to highlight the historic and modern links between Ireland and Sweden and to further strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two nations.

The king was accompanied by a delegation including foreign minister Margot Wallström and energy minister Anders Ygeman.

Mr Higgins said it was his second time meeting King Gustaf as he was Seamus Heaney’s guest at his Nobel Prize ceremony in 1995.

“Our cultures share much in common,” he said.

“The Viking period and the clear influence of the Norse-Gaels in our culture and language is manifest.

“We credit the Vikings with establishing our principal urban settlements, including our capital city.”

On Thursday, the royals visited the National Library of Ireland before the king met Mr Varadkar and the Queen visited the Science Gallery.

They also toured the National Museum of Ireland and Trinity College.

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