President Mary McAleese is the first president of Ireland to visit Bere Island in West Cork.

The President and her husband Doctor Martin McAleese arrived in an Aer Corps helicopter piloted by Bere Island native Captain Michael Sullivan.

To mark the significance of the visit, the President inspected soldiers from the 34th Reserve Infantry Battalion. She said she was honoured to be on the island and noted how the resilience of the islanders was a lesson for the whole country during difficult economic times.

The President officially opened a heritage centre in a great occasion for the Bere Island inhabitants. John Walsh of the Bere Island Community Group was impressed that

The President of Ireland could come down to a small community like Bere Island and say the kind words that she said about us, it was fantastic to hear it and it gives us great encouragement to go on and do bigger and better things.

Bere Island is an island with long and illustrious history that spans centuries. Another chapter has been added to it with the arrival of the President.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 30 October 2010. The reporter is Geraldine Harney.