The Prince of Wales and the President of Ireland visit University to sign Institute of Irish Studies joint patronage agreement

The Prince of Wales will make his first visit to the University of Liverpool, alongside Honorary Graduate and President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, to formally cement their roles as joint patrons of the University’s Institute of Irish Studies.

The visit takes place on February 12 2019. The Institute of Irish Studies contributes to greater understanding between these islands.

University of Liverpool Vice Chancellor, Professor Dame Janet Beer said: “We are both honoured and delighted to welcome the joint patrons of our Institute of Irish Studies, His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales and President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, to our campus.

“The Institute of Irish Studies plays a huge role in shaping the relationship between our islands, through its research, events, student programmes and expertise. This visit provides an excellent opportunity for us to showcase this important work.”

The Prince of Wales will arrive with The Duchess of Cornwall and meet the President and Sabina Higgins at the University’s Victoria Gallery & Museum (VG&M). The party will then meet Institute of Irish Studies staff, students and academics; including Director of the Institute of Irish Studies, Professor Peter Shirlow FaCSS and Head of Department, Professor Lauren Arrington.

Professor Dame Janet Beer will formally welcome the party, before Professor Peter Shirlow delivers a speech to mark the occasion and Professor Frank Shovlin reads a letter from John McGahern to Seamus Heaney.

The patrons will meet with representatives from Liverpool Irish Centre, Irish Community Care (Merseyside), Liverpool Irish Festival and Irish businesses, as well as Irish Special Needs teachers working in the region, and donors, friends and alumni of the Institute.

Following this, The Prince of Wales and President Higgins will sign the joint patronage agreement.

Professor Peter Shirlow said: “The joint patronage of His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales and President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins is an indication of the Institute’s role in Liverpool and further afield.

“The visit highlights the importance of the linkage and mutually enriching relationships that today frame the culture and development of these two intertwined nations.

“In coming to the University and the city and in meeting various Irish groups and others, The Prince of Wales and President of Ireland continue their vision of constructive relationships between these islands that preserves our unique character, but also recognises the richness of our interdependence.

“This is a truly important visit that recognises that the Irish community in Britain makes a vitally important contribution through learning, character and trade.

“The Irish have been the largest source of in-migration to Britain for over two centuries and as many as six and a half million people in the UK are estimated to have at least one Irish grandparent.

“The Irish in Britain have undertaken a mutually rich journey through British life and in so doing have influenced and will continue to influence wider developments and identities.”

The University of Liverpool’s Institute of Irish Studies’ foundations lie in the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement to encourage greater understanding and positively framed contact between the two islands. The Institute of Irish Studies was consequently established in 1988, and it is unique in terms of scholarship and outreach. Its internationally-recognised excellence in teaching, research and outreach beyond academia was recognised in 2007 by the Irish government through the creation of an endowed chair in Irish Studies.

The Prince of Wales’ and President Higgins’ joint patronage of the Institute was announced in September 2017, on a shared visit to Dumfries House, the Scottish estate His Royal Highness saved for the nation, in Ayrshire.

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