Ireland opened our Embassy in Luxembourg in 1974 after we joined what was then the EEC. Ireland-Luxembourg relations run deep and wide across many areas of activity and as smaller Member States we share many of the same challenges. We have excellent working relationships across all areas of government and also at business and community level.
Ireland and Luxembourg have long enjoyed excellent relations, politically, culturally and economically.
Over the last number of years we have seen our relationship deepen and intensify as we worked together to move Europe forward, particularly during the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2013 and the Luxembourg Presidency in 2015 and we look forward to maintaining the excellent relationship developed over a long period.
We are determined to build on this and to further enhance our ties in the period ahead. In doing this, we are building on solid ground and are already seeing signs of increased trade, employment and tourism.
The Irish Community living and working in Luxembourg continues to grow and includes business people, citizens working in the EU Institutions, school teachers, students and Irish people who have simply decided to call Luxembourg home. Their vibrant and unique contribution in the business and cultural spheres can be seen regularly at the events held by the Luxembourg-Irish societies, associations and clubs across the country.
There are significant historic and cultural links between the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Ireland.
The town of Echternach in the east of the country was originally a Celtic monastic settlement. Its founder, Saint Willibrord, is patron saint of Luxembourg. Although born in Northumbria in 658, he moved at the age of twenty to Ireland, where he studied at the Abbey of Rathmelsigi (modern day Clonmelsh/Kilogan, Co. Carlow) before eventually moving to Echternach where he established his own monastery. Soon after his death in 739, he was venerated as a saint, and pilgrims began to visit his grave in Echternach. These pilgrimages have evolved into the famous UNESCO World Heritage Status ‘hopping procession’ which takes place in Echternach every year on Whit Tuesday. The event attracts thousands of participants from all over Europe to honour the memory of a very international saint, who is often called the apostle of the Benelux.
President of Ireland, Mrs Mary McAleese, on her State Visit to Luxembourg in October, 2009, visited Echternach. Her visit added impetus to the centuries-old link between the town and Co. Carlow. Since, a few joint delegations from Carlow travelled to Echternach to participate in the hopping procession.
During a pilgrimage in June 2017, the ‘Relic of St. Willibrord’ was presented to Bishop Denis Nulty by the Most Reverend Jean-Claude Hollerich, Archbishop of Luxembourg to celebrate the historical links between the town of Echternach in Luxembourg and Co. Carlow. The “Relic of St. Willibrord” was brought to Carlow later that month and is on permanent display in the Cathedral of the Assumption, Carlow town.