Monday 10 December 2018

President takes in the view as Greeks bestow diploma

President Michael D Higgins with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos (right) at the University of Athens where he was presented with an honorary diploma. Photo: Maxwells
President Michael D Higgins with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos (right) at the University of Athens where he was presented with an honorary diploma. Photo: Maxwells
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

President Michael D Higgins continued his odyssey in Greece yesterday with a hike to the top of the Acropolis in Athens and by collecting an honorary doctorate.

The 76-year-old enjoyed the panoramic view alongside his wife Sabina and Employment Minister Regina Doherty.

Having inspected the ancient ruins and admired the architecture, President Higgins attended a range of State obligations.

After discussing EU-related topics with the president and prime minister of Greece on Thursday, Mr Higgins was awarded with an honorary doctorate at the University of Athens yesterday.

In a lengthy speech in the presence of more than 100 guests, the President talked about the vast connections between Ireland and Greece.

"Both of our peoples have been travellers. For the journeys we have attempted we have constructed myths of gods made human in their weakness, and told stories of humans who, in their aspirations to be godlike, have fallen into being merely heroic.

"It was another Irishman, James Joyce, who gave Homer's voice a 20th century inflection.

"It is rightly said that the Joyce we know could never have existed without Homer and Aristotle."

Earlier in the week, the President indicated he will run for a second term.

"I did say at one stage getting through the term was the length of my aspirations. I had changed my mind on that because I do think that very solid foundations had been laid," he said.

Yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said his party would decide whether to run a candidate in the election as soon as President Higgins made his intentions known.

"Well, I want to say that President Higgins has been an excellent president for Ireland," he said.

"Fine Gael will make a decision after we know his intentions, for sure."

Irish Independent

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