Today we mark, as we often do, the national holiday of an EU member state. Denmark's national day is coming up. The Kingdom of Denmark celebrates Constitution Day, its national day that marks its first constitution in 1849 and its current constitution in 1953.
The close bonds between Denmark and Ireland stretch all the way back to the Viking era. Today, we cherish some of the lasting Viking influences on Irish culture. The largest Viking warship, which is on display in the Danish national Viking Ship Museum, is called the Sea Stallion. It was built in 1042 and made from oak from County Wicklow. Our literary icon, James Joyce, began learning Danish at the age of 18 and he was convinced that he had Danish or Viking heritage. Seamus Heaney also had strong links to Denmark. On the island of Bornholm there is a street named after him.
Irish and Danish bonds grew when we joined the European Union together in 1973. We both actively support the United Nations, the rule of law and international human rights. This week’s launch of the Department of Foreign Affairs global Ireland strategy for the Nordic region will further deepen and strengthen the bonds between our two nations.
We wish Ambassador Balslev and all the Danish people in Ireland and around the world a happy Constitution Day. Glad forfatningsdag.