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Kilkenny prepares for Charles trip - first Royal visit in more than century

By Ryan Nugent

Kilkenny is set for its first Royal visit in more than 100 years as Prince Charles plans a one-day trip to the Marble County early next month.

It is understood that the Prince of Wales (below) will arrive in Kilkenny city on Thursday, May 11, for what is expected to be a short trip.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson would not confirm next month's visit, insisting that any trip such as this would not be announced until a short time before it is due to take place.

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla are expected to arrive in Kilkenny early on Thursday morning, where they will stop at Butler House.

A civic reception is also being arranged for the Royal couple, which will include a dinner at Kilkenny Castle.

It is also anticipated that the trip will include a trip along the city's high street.

All shop owners along the street have been visited by gardai and asked to fill in garda vetting forms.

This will be the first Royal visit since 1904, when King Edward and Queen Alexandra stayed at Kilkenny Castle. However, an overnight stay is not anticipated this time around.

The invitation is believed to have been made by a descendant of the Smithwick brewing family, Paul Smithwick - who received an OBE earlier this year.

Reacting to the news, Kilkenny Lord Mayor Patrick O'Neill said the rumour mill has been flying around the city over the past few weeks.

"When you see pictures of the 1904 visit of King Edward in Kilkenny, the place was so excited and the streets were thronged with people," Mr O'Neill said.

"The minute this was announced, so many people were excited and wanting to find out more about it. Kilkenny is a tourism town and it's a great boost for us to have a visit such as this."

Councillor Andrew McGuinness said the visit could increase footfall in the town, adding: "Any kind of celebrity or political visit of this scale has to be welcomed".

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