President Mary McAleese makes her first official visit to the Aran Islands.

Although her arrival was delayed by fog, President Mary McAleese was able to fulfil her promise to return to the Aran Islands, off the coast of County Galway.

On Inis Meáin the President attended mass and heard the local choir and was accompanied by Éamon Ó Cuív, Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and Islands.

The Inis Óirr island band welcomed the President to the Island. The President spoke of her admiration for the Island’s unique culture.

You are an extraordinarily unique part of the big Irish family; you have a beautifully distinctive way of life, a way that many of us look at with greatest admiration.

Later the President visited Inis Mór.

During the presidential election count the country waited for the fog bound Aran Islands vote, and Mrs McAleese said it had given the Islands a huge publicity profile on the day.

In her formal addresses, the President said she intends to use her presidency to form a greater understanding between the different regions of the country and the peoples of this island and the neighbouring island.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 28 November 1997. The reporter is Jim Fahy.