The president of Ireland Michael D. Higgins is making an official visit to Rome on Wednesday 6 February.
The Irish president will be accompanied by his wife Sabina on the trip which is being carried out in line with Ireland's current presidency of the EU.
At 14.45 on 6 February Higgins will deliver the inaugural address at the sixth annual James Joyce Italian Foundation Conference at Università degli Studi Roma 3 in the Marconi district of the city. The president, a noted academic and former culture minister, will open the two-day conference by speaking on the importance of Joyce and the humanities within our universities and our culture. The lecture is open to the public.
On Thursday 7 February Higgins will visit the city’s Pontifical Irish College in S. Giovanni, and the church of S. Pietro in Montorio on the Gianicolo, the burial place of 17th-century Irish chieftains Hugh O’Neill and Rory O’Donnell. Later that day Higgins will be the guest of honour of Italian president Giorgio Napolitano at the Quirinale Palace, at a cultural event to mark Ireland’s EU presidency.
The trip ends on Friday 8 February after Higgins meets José Graziano da Silva, the director general of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and visits the Irish Franciscan church of St Isidore’s, near Via Veneto.
Higgins became the ninth president of Ireland in November 2011, succeeding former president Mary McAleese who now resides in Rome.