King and Queen of Sweden start state visit to Ireland

On 22 May, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden started their three-day state visit to Ireland. They spent the first day of the state visit in Dublin where they were officially welcomed by President Michael D. Higgins and his wife, Sabina Higgins at the Presidential Palace. King Carl XVI Gustaf inspected the guard of honour and took part in a tree planting ceremony.

Photo: Sara Friberg/Kungl. Hovstaterna

The King then took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance. The royal couple dedicated their wreath to the Irish people who gave their lives in the Irish struggle for freedom.

Photo: Sara Friberg / Kungl. Royal Court

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia then visited Croke Park. There, they visited the Gaelic Athletic Association which is the largest non-profit organisation for culture and traditional sports in Ireland. They also toured an exhibit of traditional sports from Ireland before watching a game of Hurling – the players, using a wooden club called “hurl”, should shoot a small ball over or under the opponent’s rib- and a game of Gaelic football during which players use both their hands and their feet to score the football, which is smaller and heavier than a regular football.

Photo: Sara Friberg / Kungl. Hovstaterna

When the visit ended, the King and Queen attended a lunch hosted by the Swedish Chamber of Commerce. During the lunch, they were able to meet with the fifteen Swedish companies that have connections to Ireland and that are part of the Swedish business delegation taking part in the state visit.

Afterwards, the royal couple and the Swedish delegation were welcomed by Dublin’s Mayor, Ardmhéara, Mr Nial Ring, for a reception at Mansion House. During the reception, the royal couple met with Irish citizens who have links to Sweden.

Their Majesties with Dublin’s Mayor Nial Ring. Photo: Sara Friberg / Kungl. Royal Court

The next stop in Their Majesties’ busy first day was the Irish Parliament where they met the Irish House of Commons Speaker, Seán Ó Fearghaíl and the House of Lords Speaker, Deni O’Donovan.

The first day of the state visit concluded with a state banquet hosted by the Irish President and First Lady at the Presidential Residence.

President Michael D. Higgins and Mrs Sabina Higgins hosted the King and Queen for a state banquet. Photo: Sara Friberg / Kungl. Royal Court

His Majesty also gave a speech saying, in part, “It is my hope and conviction that this state visit will contribute to more cooperation and even stronger links between our two countries.”