1st March 1985
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Following Irish President Patrick Hillery’s visit to Japan in 1983, the then Crown Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko arrived by private jet in Shannon Airport on 1 March 1985 and spent the weekend in Dromoland Castle in Co. Clare (President Patrick Hillery's home county).

From 1868 (following the Meiji Restoration) Irish men and women emigrated to Japan, making their mark in a variety of fields. One of the most renowned being, Irish writer Lafcadio Hearn who became "more Japanese than the Japanese themselves". Hundreds of Irish nuns and priests came to live, work and teach in Japan since that time.  

The oldest record of an Irish person visiting Japan dates back to July 1704, when a small boat of 5 sailors (among them the Irishman Robert Jansen) was seized off the coast of Kyushu.

This RTÉ News report shows the Prince and Princess touring historic sites in Clare during a State Visit in 1985, including the early Celtic settlement at Craggaunowen and Bunratty Folk Park. It was hoped that their visit would inspire more Japanese tourists to come to Ireland. 


SOURCE: RTÉ News Archives

PHOTO: © Independent News and Media

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