Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

A royal feast... and a warm welcome from a very dear friend of the family

Prince and Duchess get a flavour for Donegal with butcher's artisan sausages as Charles says relationship between Britain and Ireland 'is better than ever'

By Staff Reporter

Published 26/05/2016

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at McGettigans Butchers store in
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at McGettigans Butchers store in Donegal
Irish Dancers, Ellie Ni Choilin [9] with Ailbhe Ni Loughley [11] and Piper Cian Mac Suibhne take a few pictures of themselves before the royal visit
The Prince of Wales meets Philomena Barry, 90, who was the housekeeper of his great-uncle Lord Mountbatten, as Charles visits Donegal Town
Charles and Camilla
HRH The Prince of Wales meets Pupils from Friend's Prep School Lisburn at Hillsborough Castle this morning before departing to Donegal. Photo by SImon Graham/Harrison Photography
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall ontop of the boat house at Glenveagh Castle in Glenveagh National Park, Co Donegal
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visits Magee of Donegal's Tweed Factory

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall made a sudden beeline for an elderly and frail lady sitting with a tartan blanket on her lap outside the Olde Castle Bar.

They recognised her immediately. Philomena Barry (90) had been the housekeeper to the prince's uncle, Lord Mountbatten, in Mullaghmore, Co Sligo.

They had been reunited on the royal visit last year and have continued to keep in touch by post. "It's such a treat to come back again so soon," Camilla told her.

This visit - lower key this time - was billed by the Republic's Department of Foreign Affairs as "serving to demonstrate further the normalisation of relations," while offering an opportunity to focus specifically on cross-border co-operation.

And it was a success.

Again and again, the royal couple were told: "Thank you for coming to Donegal."

At the Diamond in Donegal town, the Duchess had to give Charles a discreet but firm poke in the back with her thumb to get him to keep moving forwards and meet the next face shining with welcome.

The day started with a trip to Donegal Castle where children from Gaelscoil na gCeiithre Mástrí put on a display of Irish dancing and music.

They were met by Sean McLoone, manager of the Castle, minister Joe McHugh and Niall Gibbons of Failte Ireland - who told Charles he was the head of Irish tourism. "I'm glad someone is," Charles solemnly told him.

There was a trip to McGettigan's butchers shop - where they were offered samples of five different flavours of award-winning sausages.

A new variety - black pudding with cured bacon and pear - was devised in Charles' honour, said Diarmuid McGettigan, who runs the butchers with his brother, Ernan.

Charles inquired if there were "chunks of bacon in it" but opted for the traditional 'European Championship' variety. Proving she was equal to the example set by her mother-in-law, the Duchess of Cornwall spoke in Ulster Irish to the pupils of Ballyraine National School in Letterkenny, asking: "Cad é mar atá sibh?" (How are you?").

The Duchess watched a short musical production of 'Chicken Licken' before moving outside and going into the chicken coop, which had been renamed 'Cluckingham Palace'.

At the Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT), the couple met Ian Harkin of doll manufacturer Arklu who make childhood-inspired 'Lottie' dolls.

Addressing a civic reception at LYIT, Charles said the relationship between Britain and Ireland was now better than ever.

"This is as evident here as anywhere," he said.

"The border is of the merest consequence and Co Donegal, Co Derry or Londonderry and Co Tyrone operate as a single economic entity to the great benefit of their inhabitants.

"So I can only applaud the people of all three counties for proving that it is possible for communities that have been divided for so long to overcome their differences and create a peaceful and prosperous life together.

"I do so hope the example you have set will be copied in other areas of the world that have suffered so much conflict."

He described Donegal as "a place of dramatic and beautiful scenery, of music and storytelling, of myth, legend and the Irish language" and a place "where the link between man and the land is still so well understood".

Prince Charles unveiled a plaque rededicating a building at LYIT to his "old friend and artistic mentor", artist Derek Hill.

He received a number of gifts including a special item for his grandchildren from Lottie Dolls - dolls of Prince William and Princess Catherine on their wedding day.

"It will be interesting to see if they recognise them," he quipped.

Belfast Telegraph

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph