It's been a busy time at the Mystery Train station. On New Year's Day, John Kelly was joined by President Michael D. Higgins - you can listen to the show above.

This year, the President embarked on a state visit to Australia - the first by an Irish Head of State in over 20 years. He tells John about his own family's history of emmigration and the personal resonance the trip held for him.

On New Year's Day Mystery Train will be stopping off at the Phoenix Park for a chat with @PresidentIRL @RTElyricfm 7pm pic.twitter.com/3J4nz9GFVz

— John Kelly tweets (@johnkellytweets) December 18, 2017

In a wide ranging interview, the President discusses the economic, cultural and diplomatic purposes of his visit. He met with huge numbers of the Irish community in Australia and was struck by the contribution some of our finest young people are making to society in Australia.

He talks about the cultural connections between Ireland and Australia and the importance of our artists as ambassadors for the country. The value the President places on the arts is well recognised and he quotes Leonard Cohen's song Anthem to illustrate the point:

'There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in'.

And then there's the music - expect tunes from Ronnie Drew, Nick Cave, Johnny Cash and more.

Mystery Train with John Kelly, Sunday to Thursday, 7-9pm, RTÉ lyric fm