News release

Irish President to Visit Nova Scotia

Premier Russell MacLellan today announced Mary McAleese, President of Ireland, and Dr. Martin McAleese will visit Nova Scotia from Oct. 8 to 10 as part of her official visit to Canada.

President McAleese and her husband will arrive in Sydney and visit the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site and the University College of Cape Breton. They will have the opportunity to observe the many cultural and historical links between Ireland and Cape Breton.

The culture of Cape Breton will be on display at UCCB when the delegation tours the Student, Culture and Heritage Centre, the Beaton Institute, the Mi'kmaq Centre, and the Carol Kennedy Black and White Photography Exhibit.

The president will view a Cape Breton Irish archival display at the Beaton Institute, a Picasso sketchbook at the Art Gallery of the University College of Cape Breton, and artifacts and crafts at the Mi'kmaq Centre. Chief Lindsay Marshall of the Chapel Island Reserve will recite a Mi'kmaq poem from his book Clay Pots and Bones.

While on campus, the Irish delegation will be treated to performances by the UCCB student Mi'kmaq Drummers, the Cape Breton Chorale, and the Fitzgerald Irish Dancers. The president will also have the opportunity to view a demonstration of a traditional Gaelic milling frolic.

Cape Breton fiddler Buddy MacMaster, his daughter Mary Elizabeth, and Blair MacDonald, a 15-year-old step dancer, will perform for the president at a Cape Breton ceilidh. Entertainment at the ceilidh, co-hosted by Senator Al Graham, Leader of the Government in the Senate, and Premier MacLellan, will also be provided by flutist Elizabeth Patterson, accompanied on piano by David Burke.

On Oct. 9, President McAleese will travel to Halifax where she will receive an honorary doctorate of civil law from Saint Mary's University. The school, founded by the Irish of Halifax in 1802, is home to the only chair of Irish studies in Atlantic Canada. The D'Arcy McGee Chair of Irish Studies was established in 1986 as a way of reaffirming the university's ties to its Irish heritage.

"We are honoured to have the Irish president visit the province," said Premier MacLellan. "I'm sure she and Dr. McAleese will be welcomed with the traditional warmth and hospitality Nova Scotians always display for our guests."

While in Halifax, President McAleese will make an official call on Lt.-Gov. James Kinley and Mrs. Grace Kinley.

Included in the official delegation accompanying President McAleese is Liz O'Donnell, Ireland's minister of state for foreign affairs, and Paul Dempsey, ambassador of Ireland to Canada.

The province will present the president with a unique hand-hooked rug from the Acadian village of Cheticamp. The rug will be on display in the Art Gallery of UCCB from Oct. 5 to 8.

President McAleese will also visit Ontario, Quebec and the other three Atlantic provinces from Oct. 2 to 10.

NOTE: The following is intended for use by broadcast media.

The president of Ireland, Mary McAleese, will be paying a visit to Nova Scotia next week.

As part of her Canadian visit, President McAleese will arrive in Sydney next Thursday (October 8th) and take in a tour of the University College of Cape Breton and the Fortress of Louisbourg.

She'll also have an opportunity to see performances by Mi'kmaq and Gaelic groups, before heading to Halifax.

There, she'll receive an honorary degree from Saint Mary's University, home to the only chair of Irish studies in Atlantic Canada.

She leaves October 10th to continue her tour of Canada.


NOTE TO EDITORS: Details on media positions and logistics will be released Thursday, Oct. 1.

ngr                   Sept. 30, 1998               4:45 p.m.