Presidential Inauguration

Presidential Inauguration

IT Fri, Nov 11

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  • 11:02
    Good morning, and welcome to our live coverage of the inauguration of Michael D Higgins as the ninth president of Ireland. Eoin Burke-Kennedy here to take you through what promises to be a colourful event despite the utterly dismal weather. Excited? underwhelmed? Feel free to send us any remarks, comments, observations.
  • 11:12
    Here’s a brief summary of today’s itinerary;

    11.25am The President-elect and wife Sabina depart Farmleigh for Dublin Castle

    11.43am The President-elect arrives at the State Apartments

    11.55am Taoiseach, outgoing Council of State assemble in St Patrick's Hall

    11.57am President-elect accompanied proceeds to St Patrick's Hall.

    Noon Inter-faith ceremony begins with Humanist reflection

    12.25pm Inauguration ceremony begins with the presidential declaration of office

    12.35pm A fanfare and 21-gun salute indicate that President Higgins has entered office followed by his inauguration speech and the national anthem.

    12.55pm President Higgins will inspect the guard of honour.

    1.20pm President and wife Sabina will be driven to Áras an Uachtaráin

    6.15pm Guests begin to arrive for the State Reception at Dublin Castle.

    6.50pm President will arrive at Dublin Castle where he will be greeted by Kenny.

    7pm State reception begins
  • 11:19
    Our man in the Farmleigh says the presidential motorcade to take Michael D and his wife Sabina to Dublin Castle is ready and waiting.  Apparently screens have been installed in Dublin Castle to show Ireland's crunch play-off game against Estonia which takes place during tonight's State reception.
  • 11:24
    President-elect Michael D Higgins
    President-elect Michael D Higgins
  • 11:25
    The presidential motorcade bringing Michael D and his wfe Sabina to Dublin Castle has departed from Farmleigh.
  • 11:29
    In her last official engagement at a St Vincent de Paul homeless centre in Dublin yesterday, former president Mary McAleese, whose presidency officially ended at midnight last night, said she was on the verge of tears in the final hours of her 14-year term. My colleague Miriam Lord has a nice piece on McAleese’s final day in office in today’s Irish Times.Here’s the link:
  • 11:32
    No doubt, just what the “D” stands for in Michael D Higgins will be a pub quiz question for some years to come. The answer is Daniel.
  • 11:35
    The President-elect has requested a moment to “pause and reflect” ahead of his inauguration in the room in Dublin Castle where James Connolly was held before being executed. He will spend a brief period of time in the Connolly Room, named in honour of the 1916 leader, before entering St Patrick’s Hall. Taoiseach Enda Kenny has just arrived at Dublin Castle.
  • 11:39
    Gardaí at Dublin Castle
    Gardaí at Dublin Castle
  • 11:43
    Michael D has had a long and colourful career in public life. Here's a brief bio - A thinker unafraid to speak his mind - which we've just put up on the website.
  • 11:45
    The Presidential-elect and his wife Sabina have just arrived at Dublin Castle. They were greeted by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn and Army officers.
  • 11:51
    In keeping with his humanist beliefs, Mr Higgins requested a “humanist” element be added to the inter-faith ceremony which precedes the formal inauguration ceremony in St Patrick’s Hall. The ceremony will include Christian, Jewish and Muslim blessings.
  • 11:59
    President-elect Michael D Higgins is entering St Patrick's Hall bang on time for the pre-inauguration inter-faith ceremony. #pres9 is now trending on Twitter. Despite the august occasion, some of guests are finding time to tweet.
  • 12:08
    Much loved hymn "Be Thou My Vision" kicks off inter-faith ceremony. President-elect looks suitably presidential. Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin opens the proceedings with a prayer. His prayer is followed with a reading from Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Dr Michael Jackson. 
  • 12:16
    There really is a strong inter-faith emphasis to proceedings, reflecting Michael D's own disposition as well as a more multicultural Ireland, and one less bound to a particular persuasion. After the Christian service of prayer the Taoiseach will invite the Jewish and Islamic representatives to read and pronounce a blessing.
  • 12:19
    President-elect and wife Sabina arrive at Dublin Castle
    President-elect and wife Sabina arrive at Dublin Castle
  • 12:21
    President-elect Michael D Higgins arrives for his inauguration ceremony as Ireland's ninth head of state at Dublin Castle
    President-elect Michael D Higgins arrives for his inauguration ceremony as Ireland's ninth head of state at Dublin Castle
  • 12:24
    Susie Kennedy from the Humanist Association of Ireland is now speaking at the ceremony. The association's participation was specially requested by Michael D.
  • 12:29
    The Taoiseach is now requesting the Chief Justice to read the Declaration of Office to the President-elect.
  • 12:34
    Michael D has made his declaration of office. The Chief Justice Mrs Justice Susan Denham read the Declaration to the President-elect who repeated it aloud. The President then sat to sign the Declaration. Army trumpeters then sounded a fanfare to indicate that the President had entered into Office. Michael D has received his Seal of President. Micheal D Higgins is now officially the ninth President of Ireland.
  • 12:38
    Describing him as a "noble man of quiet virtue," Taoiseach Enda Kenny says the new President has spent his political life defending the marginalised. Mr Kenny says the new President is eminently suited to oversee the commemoration of major events like Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme.
  • 12:43
    Michael D Higgins now making his first presidential address, he says there is no greater honour than being elected president of Ireland. He acknowledges the great contribution of his two immediate predecessors. He says he realises the big challenges facing the country at the moment in recovering from a period, which he says, has "left the economy fragile but most of all left us wounded as a society".
  • 12:45
    "We must seek to build together an active, inclusive citizenship."
  • 12:51
    "It is my wish to be a president for all the Irish at home and abroad."
  • 12:52
    "We must strive to address the circumstances which cause involuntary emigration."
  • 12:53
    "We Irish are a creative, resourceful, talented and warm people...we must work together to forge a shared future."
  • 12:56
    Sean Gallagher and his wife Trish arriving earlier
    Sean Gallagher and his wife Trish arriving earlier
  • 12:59
    President Higgins is receiving congratulations from political dignatories and other distinguished guests as he leaves St Patrick's Hall as Ireland's new President. The president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, has just sent a message of congratulations to Mr Higgins upon assuming office. "You are taking office at an important time, as Ireland takes resolute action to address difficult economic circumstances and in doing so, is setting an example for other countries facing similar challenges," Barroso said.
  • 13:06
    The President and Sabina Higgins have moved to the top of the upper courtyard to greet children while the Army Band will perform after which they will bid farewell to the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste before holding a private lunch for 90 guests in the Áras. The guests will include politcal representatives as well as family and friends. The entertainment at the lunch will be provided by Iarla O' Lionaird and Steve Cooney.
  • 13:24
    The dismal weather has eased somewhat but the sky remains dark and ominous, a bit like the economy, I suppose. President Higgins and wife Sabina are glad-handing rain-soaked children which have been assembled to greet the country's new first couple in the castle's upper courtyard.
  • 13:27
    President Higgins said his term in office would be about transformation, creativity, ideas and inclusion. “The demands and rewards of building a real and inclusive Republic in its fullest sense remains as a challenge for us all, but it is one we should embrace together,” he said.
  • 13:43
    Of paticular note, was the new President's attack on what he termed "the individual materialism of recent years" and his call for a return to an older wisdom. This type of sentiment, repeated time and time again during his campaign, no doubt, taps into the mood of many in post-boom Ireland. The presidential motorcade has now taken the President back to the Áras.The Presidential Standard, blue with a gold harp, flies from Dublin Castle.
  • 13:53
    President Higgins and his wife Sabina have arrived back to Áras an Uachtaráin - their home for the next seven years.
  • 13:54
    President Michael D Higgins, the ninth president of Ireland, inspecting the Guard of Honour , following the inauguration ceremony in Dublin Castle.
    President Michael D Higgins, the ninth president of Ireland, inspecting the Guard of Honour , following the inauguration ceremony in Dublin Castle.
  • 13:56
    President Higgins and his wife Sabina meet well-wishers in the upper yard of Dublin Castle
    President Higgins and his wife Sabina meet well-wishers in the upper yard of Dublin Castle
  • 14:04
    Incidentally, several traditional Irish favourites including boxty bread and shortcake biscuits feature on the menu for the guests at today’s inaugural luncheon at the Áras.

    First course will comprise of warm, smoked chicken with crisped bacon boxty bread and onion marmalade. A fillet of sole with potato rose and asparagus will be served for the main.

    For dessert, guests will receive a chocolate and orange parfait, pear sauce and shortcake biscuits. The food will be served with two heavy duty, yet modestly priced, Bordeaux wines in the form of Pessac — Leognan, Château Le Sartre, 2009 and Château de la Cour, Saint Emilion Grand Cru, 2005.
  • 14:10
    Back to Mr Higgins's speech, he described Irish society as “wounded", saying many people had “broken expectations”. It was now necessary to move past the assumptions which had failed us and build a society that was inclusive, he said, stressing the importance of “active citizenship”.
  • 14:43
    Aer Corps jets fly past -at the Inauguration of Michael D Higgins as President
    Aer Corps jets fly past -at the Inauguration of Michael D Higgins as President
  • 15:03
    Among the former taoisigh in attendance at today's auguration were Liam Cosgrave (1973-77), John Bruton (1994-97) and Brian Cowen (2008-11). The notable absentees were Albert Reynolds (1992-94), who was too unwell to attend, and Bertie Ahern (1997-2008), who is abroad for a scheduled engagement.
  • 15:12
    The new President's first official engagements as President will be to attend a Remembrance Sunday service at the Church of Ireland St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. Later on Sunday, he will travel to attend the final of the All-Island School Choir of the Year competition.

    The Cabinet appoved his trip to the North at its weekly meeting on Tuesday. Cabinet permission is required under article 12.9 of the Constitution, which provides that the president shall not leave the State during his or her term of office, “save with the consent of the Government”.
  • 15:23
    Another pic of Michael D on his first presidential walkabout
    Another pic of Michael D on his first presidential walkabout
  • 15:25
    Heading to the Áras as President
    Heading to the Áras as President
  • 15:37
    Inspecting a guard of honour
    Inspecting a guard of honour
  • 15:51
    The State reception for the new President begins at 7pm this evening in Dublin Castle. Officials have installed TV screens to show Ireland's Euro 2012 play-off match with Estonia which kicks off at 7.45pm. I wonder if Estonia will spoil the celebrations.
  • 15:54
    A full text of Michael D's inaugural speech as President is now available at