Belfast Telegraph

Welcome for Charles ‘shows that Northern Ireland wants to move on’

Charles talks to Armagh GAA manager Kieran McGeeney and Ireland rugby skipper Rory Best at the local council offices

The Prince of Wales with pupils from Armagh’s St Patrick’s Grammar School and Royal School during an engagement at Palace Demense in the Cathedral City
The Prince of Wales with pupils from Armagh’s St Patrick’s Grammar School and Royal School during an engagement at Palace Demense in the Cathedral City
The Prince of Wales at St Patrick’s Cathedral with the Catholic and Church of Ireland Primates
Prince Charles acts as referee
Prince Charles meets DUP MLA Carla Lockhart and her two-week-old son Charlie
Prince Charles meets members of Lurgan District Loyal Orange No 6 during his visit to Brownlow House
Charles talks to Armagh GAA manager Kieran McGeeney and Ireland rugby skipper Rory Best at the local council offices
Ivan Little

By Ivan Little

The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland has told dissident republicans that Prince Charles' visit to Northern Ireland is a clear message that the country wants to move on.

And all-Ireland Primate Eamon Martin also called on politicians to take risks for peace and reconciliation.

The Archbishop and his Church of Ireland counterpart Richard Clarke welcomed the prince to Armagh, the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland, just over a month after the New IRA shot dead journalist Lyra McKee.

Archbishop Martin said: "I think today's visit lets people know that there are many people in the community, there are many people in this society, who want to move on and who want to continue to build bridges for the future."

On the second day of Charles' trip, the Catholic Primate said there were some here who wanted to "drag us back".

He urged people to take "risks for reconciliation and peace".

"Risk is about stepping out and leadership, and every time we have done it people have come with us," he said.

"You may have a few people who disagree, but ultimately someone has to lead forward and that is the message that we have been giving to our political leaders - to show leadership, courageous and compassionate leadership for the future."

The prince had first gone to St Patrick's Catholic Cathedral, which underwent a major restoration programme in 2003.

He later met pupils at nearby St Patrick's Grammar School who are taking part in the Achieve personal development course for 11-to-19-year-olds run by his charity, The Prince's Trust.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are pictured meeting people in Belfast City Centre as part of their 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Picture Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are pictured meeting people in Belfast City Centre as part of their 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Picture Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
The Prince of Wales speaking with the new Lord Mayor of Belfast John Finucane during a visit to The Bank Buildings in Belfast, where a fire broke out in a Primark store in August 2018, nearly caused the iconic structure to collapse. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales and Duchess Of Cornwall attended a walkabout and visited the Primark store following the blaze which destroyed the iconic building last August. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 22: Camilla, Duchess Of Cornwall during a visit to Belfast on May 22, 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Prince of Wales and Duchess Of Cornwall attended a walkabout and visited the Primark store following the blaze which destroyed the iconic building last August. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 22: Prince Charles, Prince Of Wales during a visit to Belfast on May 22, 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Prince of Wales and Duchess Of Cornwall attended a walkabout and visited the Primark store following the blaze which destroyed the iconic building last August. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 22: Camilla, Duchess Of Cornwall during a visit to Belfast on May 22, 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Prince of Wales and Duchess Of Cornwall attended a walkabout and visited the Primark store following the blaze which destroyed the iconic building last August. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 22: Prince Charles, Prince Of Wales during a visit to Belfast on May 22, 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Prince of Wales and Duchess Of Cornwall attended a walkabout and visited the Primark store following the blaze which destroyed the iconic building last August. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 22: Prince Charles, Prince Of Wales during a visit to Belfast on May 22, 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Prince of Wales and Duchess Of Cornwall attended a walkabout and visited the Primark store following the blaze which destroyed the iconic building last August. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 22: Prince Charles, Prince Of Wales during a visit to Belfast on May 22, 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Prince of Wales and Duchess Of Cornwall attended a walkabout and visited the Primark store following the blaze which destroyed the iconic building last August. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are pictured meeting people in Belfast City Centre as part of their 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Picture Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are pictured meeting people in Belfast City Centre as part of their 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Picture Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are pictured meeting people in Belfast City Centre as part of their 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Picture Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are pictured meeting people in Belfast City Centre as part of their 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Picture Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are pictured meeting people in Belfast City Centre as part of their 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Picture Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye The Prince of Wales is pictured at the Palace Demesne, Armagh during his 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. The rugby and GAA players present HRH with two shirts as he left the Palace.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye The Prince of Wales is pictured at the Palace Demesne, Armagh during his 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. He met Ulster and Ireland Rugby star Rory Best and Manager of Armagh County GAA, Kieran McGeeney during a 'game of two halves' which brings together young rugby and GAA players
The Prince of Wales is given a guard of honour by pupils from St Patrick's Grammar School, Armagh and The Royal School, Armagh, after an engagement at Palace Demense in Co. Armagh. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales blowing a whistle during an engagement at Palace Demense in Co. Armagh. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales signing the visitors book at Palace Demense in Co. Armagh with Armagh Lord Mayor Mealla Campbell, sitting infront of portraits of his ancestors King George III, and Queen Charlotte, painted by Scottish portrait-painter Alan Ramsey. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
RETRANSMITTED WITH CORRECT CAPTION The Prince of Wales meeting members of the Lugan District Loyal Orange No.6, during his visit to Brownlow House, Lugan, on the second day of his tour of Northern Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
RETRANSMITTED WITH CORRECT CAPTION The Prince of Wales during his visit to Brownlow House, Lugan, on the second day of his tour of Northern Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales looks at the Ulster rugby and Armagh GAA county jersey he was presented by pupils from The Royal School, Armagh, and St Patrick's Grammar School, Armagh, following an engagement at Palace Demense in Co. Armagh. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales is given a guard of honour by pupils from St Patrick's Grammar School, Armagh and The Royal School, Armagh, after an engagement at Palace Demense in Co. Armagh. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales is given a guard of honour by pupils from St Patrick's Grammar School, Armagh and The Royal School, Armagh, after an engagement at Palace Demense in Co. Armagh. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales meeting the choir during his visit to Brownlow House, Lugan, on the second day of his tour of Northern Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales with pupils from St Patrick's Grammar School, Armagh and The Royal School, Armagh, during an engagement at Palace Demense in Co. Armagh. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales at the Finnebrogue Artisan event in Downpatrick, Co Down, on the second day of the Royal couple's visit to Northern Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales meets 9-month-old Margot Dixon, Esme Dixon, 2, and Denis Lynn at the Finnebrogue Artisan event in Downpatrick, Co Down, on the second day of the Royal couple's visit to Northern Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales during a visit to Belfast Synagogue on the second day of the Royal couple's visit to Northern Ireland. Joe Giddens/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales with Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis during a visit to Belfast Synagogue on the second day of the Royal couple's visit to Northern Ireland. Joe Giddens/PA Wire
HRH The Prince of Wales meets members of the Hebrew Community at the Belfast Hebrew Congregation. Photo by Aaron McCracken
HRH The Prince of Wales meets members of the Hebrew Community at the Belfast Hebrew Congregation. Photo by Aaron McCracken
HRH The Prince of Wales meets guests at the Belfast Hebrew Congregation. Photo by Aaron McCracken
The Prince of Wales during a visit to Belfast Synagogue on the second day of the Royal couple's visit to Northern Ireland. Joe Giddens/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales unveils a plaque during a visit to Belfast Synagogue on the second day of the Royal couple's visit to Northern Ireland. Joe Giddens/PA Wire
HRH The Prince of Wales unveiled a plaque at the Belfast Hebrew Congregation today to mark the installation of two new stain glass windows in the Synagogue. Photo by Aaron McCracken
HRH The Prince of Wales pictured with Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis as he visits at the Belfast Hebrew Congregation. Photo by Aaron McCracken
HRH The Prince of Wales meets Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis as he arrives at the Belfast Hebrew Congregation. Photo by Aaron McCracken
The Prince of Wales speaking with the new Lord Mayor of Belfast John Finucane during a visit to The Bank Buildings in Belfast, where a fire broke out in a Primark store in August 2018, nearly caused the iconic structure to collapse. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - The Duchess of Cornwall is pictured meeting people at the Belfast Welcome Organisation in west Belfast during her 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Belfast Welcome Organisation has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1977. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - The Duchess of Cornwall is pictured meeting people at the Belfast Welcome Organisation in west Belfast during her 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Belfast Welcome Organisation has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1977. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - The Duchess of Cornwall is pictured meeting people at the Belfast Welcome Organisation in west Belfast during her 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Belfast Welcome Organisation has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1977. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - The Duchess of Cornwall is pictured meeting people at the Belfast Welcome Organisation in west Belfast during her 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Belfast Welcome Organisation has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1977. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - The Duchess of Cornwall is pictured meeting people at the Belfast Welcome Organisation in west Belfast during her 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Belfast Welcome Organisation has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1977. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - The Duchess of Cornwall is pictured meeting people at the Belfast Welcome Organisation in west Belfast during her 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Belfast Welcome Organisation has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1977. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - The Duchess of Cornwall is pictured meeting people at the Belfast Welcome Organisation in west Belfast during her 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Belfast Welcome Organisation has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1977. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - The Duchess of Cornwall is pictured meeting people at the Belfast Welcome Organisation in west Belfast during her 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Belfast Welcome Organisation has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1977. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.
The Prince of Wales with Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis during a visit to Belfast Synagogue on the second day of the Royal couple's visit to Northern Ireland.Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales during a visit to Belfast Synagogue on the second day of the Royal couple's visit to Northern Ireland. Joe Giddens/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cornwall visit the Belfast Welcome Organisation which has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1997. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cornwall visits the Belfast Welcome Organisation which has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1997. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cornwall arrives for her visit to the Belfast Welcome Organisation which has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1997. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cornwall arrives for her visit to the Belfast Welcome Organisation which has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1997. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cornwall visits the Belfast Welcome Organisation which has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1997. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cornwall visits the Belfast Welcome Organisation which has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1997. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cornwall arrives for her visit to the Belfast Welcome Organisation which has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1997. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cornwall arrives for her visit to the Belfast Welcome Organisation which has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1997. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales attends a reception at the Grand Central Hotel hosted by The Spirit of Belfast to celebrate those involved in delivering the success of the tourism and artisan food sectors in Belfast. Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Mark Dougan, Northern Ireland director at The Prince's Trust, said: "Through partnering with local schools like St Patrick's Grammar School, we look forward to helping many more young people to unleash their talent and reach their full potential."

Later the prince met St Patrick's pupils again, albeit in a very different guise, as he travelled to the Palace Demesne, home of the current offices of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, for what was an unusual 'game of two halves' involving GAA players and their rugby counterparts from Armagh's Royal School.

The first half was a rugby game before Prince Charles turned whistle-blower to start the second period as a Gaelic football match.

The intrepid royal guest almost got too close to the action, as a young player slid out of control to within yards of him before he was swiftly ushered away to a safer vantage point.

Ulster GAA vice-chairman Ciaran McLaughlin said the game was "extremely symbolic" of the future of Northern Ireland, moving away from previously held stereotypes.

"The game is part of a community outreach programme. We have Ulster Rugby and Ulster GAA coming together to try out the skills from GAA and rugby in a fun environment and bringing children together through sport," he explained.

During a break a number of pupils from the Royal School told their guest that they already played GAA and some of the St Patrick's boys said they enjoyed rugby, too.

At one point Ireland rugby captain Rory Best appeared to get the royal seal of approval for his decision to retire from the game he has graced with distinction for so long after this year's World Cup in Japan.

As Rory stood in a line-up - not a line-out - with Armagh GAA manager Kieran McGeeney, the prince threw a curved ball at the veteran hooker. Rory, who received his OBE from Charles last year, said: "He asked me if I didn't think I was getting too old to play the game. Unfortunately, I had to agree with him that I am getting far too old.

"But I explained to him that after the World Cup later this year that would be it."

Kieran, who said he was still recovering from his county's dramatic win over Down at the weekend, said the prince asked a lot of questions about GAA.

"He wanted to know about the rules and how Gaelic football was played and if it was professional. He knew a little bit about the game and he talked about the relationship with the AFL in Australia," he said.

During a tour of the council offices, Charles was told about plans to develop a massive multi-million-pound sports facility in Armagh to be enjoyed by the whole community.

Local GAA and rugby clubs have already thrown their weight behind the initiative.

And Rory and Kieran said the future was looking bright.

Kieran said the two sporting traditions had always co-operated in Armagh.

He added: "When I first started playing I trained at the rugby club and nowadays they use our gym, and there's coaching going on between the two sports. The relationship is really good and it's not a forced cross-community thing."

Rory said he hoped the council's project would get off the ground. He added: "It's really important that we could have somewhere that we could have everything on one site.

"I have kids who go to school here and for them to potentially benefit from something like that would be wonderful."

Towards the end of his visit Charles was shown a painting of a battle that had a huge significance in Anglo-Irish history. Armagh artist Brian Vallely spoke to him about his dramatic depiction of the Battle of Kinsale, described as the ultimate battle in England's conquest of Gaelic Ireland in 1601.

After Armagh, the prince went to Brownlow House in Lurgan, home to the local district of the Orange Order and the Royal Black Preceptory's headquarters.

The prince was told Brownlow House also brings to life the story of how the US military was stationed there during the Second World War when it was used as a base for General Dwight D Eisenhower - who would later become US President - when he visited his troops.

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