President departs Dublin for historic UK State visit

Michael D Higgins

President Michael D. Higgins has left Dublin to travel to the United Kingdom for his official State visit - the first ever by an Irish President.

He starts his official engagements in London tomorrow morning.

The government jet, carrying the President, his wife Sabina - and the Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and his wife Carol - left Casement Aerodrome in Baldonnell just after 4pm.

Speaking before he left, President Higgins said he hoped State visits between the two countries would become common.

"My wish is not only for their to be more visits at the highest level, but that Irish people and people who live in our neighbours come to visit each other more" he said.

"It should be something that happens very naturally and I think it will happen" he added.