President Michael D Higgins celebrates 80th birthday

President Michael D Higgins celebrates 80th birthday

IRELAND PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins is celebrating his 80th birthday today.

On Friday, as he strolled through Phoenix Park with his two dogs, Higgins revealed the rather humble day he'd organised for himself.

"I haven’t any plans. My plans are somewhat limited," he told the Irish Independent.

"One of my sons will be with me, and Sabina," he said. "TG4 have some wonderful musicians lined up so I’ll definitely watch that."

TG4 have plans to mark the big day, confirming that they’ll air a one-hour music and arts special to honour Michael D, featuring performances from some of the country's finest poets, musicians, thinkers, playwrights and dancers.

Irish President Michael D. Higgins (2L) and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (2R) are flanked by Higgins's wife Sabina Coyne (L) and Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (R) as they pose for a photograph ahead of a State Banquet during the Irish president's state visit in Windsor, west of London, on April 8, 2014.

A selection of well-recognised names have already been announced as part of the line-up so far, including former President of Ireland Mary Robinson and Van Morrison amongst others.

Higgins was first elected president in 2011 and has become something of a national treasure during his decade in office.

Having launched a career in politics in the 60s, Michael D served as a Labour Party TD on and off for 40 years, before switching his focus to the office of president.

He decided to run for the first time in 2011 and won by a record margin.

Higgins received  a total of 1,007,104 votes, far more than any Irish politician in the history of the republic.

In 2014, he became the first Irish president to conduct a state visit to the UK, and was re-elected for a second term in 2018.