President-elect Michael D Higgins met President Mary McAleese at Áras an Uachtaráin this afternoon for the first time since his victory last weekend.

Mr Higgins and his wife, Sabina Coyne, also had the opportunity to look around the centuries-old building which will be their home for the next seven years. He will be inaugurated n Friday 11 November.

Mr Higgins and his wife were accompanied by their four adult children - Alice Mary, Michael, John and Daniel.

They were welcomed by President McAleese and her husband, Senator Martin McAleese, who have lived at the Áras for 14 years.

After lunch, Mr and Mrs McAleese and the incoming President and his wife had a private meeting.

The Higgins family were then able to see around the State Rooms as well as the West Wing, which will be their private accommodation for the next seven years.

It was the last meeting between Mrs McAleese and Mr Higgins before the inauguration. Mary McAleese moves out of Áras an Uachtaráin next Thursday.

Meanwhile, preparations are underway at Dublin Castle for the inauguration.

Mr Higgins is not expected to use former president Éamon de Valera's old Rolls Royce on the day.

Mr Higgins will sit in a new President’s chair during the ceremony.

Nearly 300 soldiers will be involved and will provide a 21-gun salute, parades, escorts of honour and an Air Corps flypast.

A State reception will be held in Dublin Castle on the night of the inauguration.