Britain‘s Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall arrive at Shannon Airport in Ireland on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, to start their historic four-day visit to Ireland. The Prince of Wales says he is excited by the prospect of his first visit to the Republic of Ireland in 13 years.
The couple are welcomed at NUI Galway by the Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) Joan Burton, among the guests are Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.The highlight of Tuesday’s engagements is the historic handshake between the Prince and Gerry Adams. This is the first time a member of the British royal family and the Sinn Féin President have formerly engaged. They shake hands and speak briefly at a reception in NUI Galway, where the Prince makes the first of two scheduled speeches.
Charles and Camilla then go on to visit the Burren in County Clare, fulfilling one of Charles’ life-long goals, by exploring the karst landscape for almost an hour.
They conclude their first day by dining with the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, and his wife Sabina, at Lough Cutra Castle in south County Galway. They dine on blanched Highgrove asparagus to start, followed by pan-seared halibut, with panna cotta and poached Highgrove rhubarb for dessert.
Their packed itinerary for Wednesday begins with a trip to Lissadell House with a civic reception and a viewing of the Niland Collection at The Model contemporary arts centre in Sligo. Mayor of Sligo, Seán MacManus, formerly of Sinn Féin, attends the reception. MacManus’ son was killed in a gun battle with security forces in Northern Ireland in 1992.
The Prince then visits the Institute of Technology, Sligo, and the couple has lunch at Lissadell. They then visit the grave of W. B. Yeats and attend a service at St. Columba’s Church, in Drumcliff. The royal couple takes part in a tree-planting and unveil a plaque. The theme of this service and the tree-planting is peace and reconciliation.
The Prince then visits Mullaghmore Harbour on Wednesday afternoon. On August 27, 1979, his great-uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, is killed in a bomb attack executed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Mountbatten holidayed every summer at Classiebawn Castle near the harbor. He had, along with family and friends, embarked on a lobster-potting and angling expedition when a bomb on board was detonated just a few hundred yards from the harbor. He died of his injuries, along with his grandson Nicholas Knatchbull (14), Paul Maxwell (15), from County Fermanagh, and Lady Brabourne (83), his eldest daughter’s mother-in-law.
Charles and Camilla conclude their Wednesday itinerary with a trip to the Sligo races.
On Thursday and Friday, Charles and Camilla travel to Northern Ireland. Their engagements include a reception and a concert featuring a selection of local performers at Hillsborough Castle. They make a trip to Mount Stewart House and gardens to mark the completion of a three-year restoration programme. They also visit the Corrymeela Community, Northern Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation centre, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015.
(From: “History is made as Prince Charles fulfills life-long dream in Ireland” by Cathy Hayes, IrishCentral, http://www.irishcentral.com, May 20, 2015 | Pictured: The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at Mullaghmore pier on May 20, 2015)