President Higgins and Mrs. Higgins visited the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire on the final day of their State visit to the U.K. Fiach Mac Conghail, Director of the Abbey Theatre joined them along with Gregory Doran, Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. They were given a backstage tour before being treated to a short performance from the RSC’s production of Shakespeare’s Henry IV. President Higgins was presented with The Complete Works of Shakespeare, signed by the acting company. The President gifted the RSC a copy of The Book of Kells. They later visited the nearby 16th century birthplace of Shakespeare.
In his speech at the Royal Shakespeare Company, President Higgins spoke about the evolutionary nature of Ireland’s relationship with the English language:
“Today I want to acknowledge a great truth: the English language that we share, if it was once the enforced language of conquest, it is today the very language in which we have now come to delight in one another, to share our different and complementary understandings of what it means to be human together in this world, transacting in the currency of words.”