Dublin Town Hall
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Queen and I would like to thank you for your kind words of welcome and for the hospitality extended to us and to our delegation. I would also like to thank you for the generous gift presented to us.
The Queen and I enjoyed sailing up the river Liffey yesterday morning and our arrival at the heart of the new and modern city of Dublin.
The ties between Norway and this city go back more than 1000 years. Irish archaeologists have found much evidence of earlier contact between our countries. Then there was a period when there was less contact between us, not least because neither Ireland nor Norway were independent countries. In recent years however, Dubliners and Norwegians have rediscovered one another. There are now direct flights between our countries. More than 50000 Norwegians visited Dublin last year. Mostly they were tourists, but an increasing number of Norwegians come here on business as well. If you walk along Grafton Street you can expect to hear Norwegian spoken throughout the year.
Dubliners are known for their friendliness, joviality and hospitality. That is one of the reasons why so many Norwegians choose to visit this city. An increasing number of tourists from this country come to Norway each year, especially in the winter. But we have room for many more, and I can assure you that you will be most welcome.
Many Norwegians have studied in Dublin over the years, in particular a large number of our doctors have been trained at the Royal College of Surgeons. Contacts and collaboration between academic institutions in Dublin and Norway have been expanded. Young graduates who have spent several years in another country are in an outstanding position to forge links with their home country.
Visitors to Dublin meet a vibrant community, a varied and exciting cultural environment and, not least, a very dynamic economy. The economic progress of both Dublin and the rest of Ireland in recent decades has been, and continues to be, very impressive.
Once again I would like to express our appreciation of your friendship and hospitality. I wish you success in your important work.