President Michael D Higgins made his first official visit to Northern Ireland when he arrived in Derry on Sunday.
In just his second official function as President of Ireland - two days after his inauguration - the new head of state attended Derry’s Millennium Forum for the All-Island School Choir of the Year awards.
“I am delighted to join you here tonight and to have had the privilege of enjoying such beautiful choral performances. Hans Christian Anderson said that where words fail, music speaks,” Mr Higgins said.
The president paid tribute to all the 46 choirs who entered the annual contest run by charity Co-operation Ireland and RTE. “It has been inspiring to witness the final performances but every participating choir in this competition has shown the wonderful talent and teamwork that enabled each and every one of them to represent their school to the very, very best of their ability.
“Surely a people that can sing together in harmony is a wonderful and great omen for the future,” he said.
In his first official engagement as the as ninth Uachtarain na hEireann, Mr Higgins laid a wreath during a Remembrance Sunday service at St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral in Dublin on Sunday morning.