On the second day of #RoyalVisitIreland, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall viewed highlights from The Niland Art Collection at The Model in Sligo. The royal couple also had the opportunity to watch a music and poetry recital celebrating the 150th anniversary of the poet W.B. Yeats.
One of those greeting the royal couple at The Model was the poets W.B. Yeats’ granddaughter, Catherine Yeats.
The Model, home of The Niland Collection, is one of Ireland’s foremost contemporary art centres. Built in 1862 as a Model School, the existing building has been enlarged twice. The building’s amenities include a restaurant and coffee shop, a book shop, a gallery circuit, performance space, and a suite of artists’ studios on the top floor with magnificent views of Sligo.
The Niland Collection is one of Ireland’s most notable public art collections. Begun in 1959 by Nora Niland (the County Librarian) the collection highlights work by many of Ireland’s most renowned twentieth-century artists.
Paintings by the Yeats family are also a particular focus, and the collection features almost fifty works by Jack B. Yeats. There are nineteen portraits by his father John Butler Yeats, as well as works by Jack’s wife Mary Cottenham Yeats, and his sister Elizabeth Yeats.
Prince Charles also delivered what proved to be a heartfelt and personal speech.
Charles, not one to be afraid to try and speak in various languages once again gave it a go on Wednesday. The prince stated: “As we have been reminded throughout this visit – and do forgive my attempt at coining a new Seanfhocal – Ní bhíonn strainseirí anseo ach carda nar aithíonn leat [There are no strangers here, only friends that you haven’t yet met]. For the ancient land of Ireland does have a remarkable tradition of cultural and spiritual creativity and it can be a powerful magic for some.”
“Neither Ireland nor Britain enjoys such a deep and broad engagement with any other country. Our current, blessed era of friendship and cooperation is not, however, founded on pretending that the past did not happen. We all have regrets. As my mother said at Dublin Castle, “with the benefit of historical hindsight, we can all see things which we would wish had been done differently or not at all,” Charles noted.
During his speech Charles mentioned his beloved uncle: “In August 1979, my much-loved great uncle, Lord Mountbatten, was killed alongside his young grandson and my godson, Nicholas, and his friend, Paul Maxwell, and Nicholas’s grandmother, the Dowager Lady Brabourne. At the time, I could not imagine how we would come to terms with the anguish of such a deep loss since, for me, Lord Mountbatten represented the grandfather I never had. So it seemed as if the foundations of all that we held dear in life had been torn apart irreparably.
He continued: “Through this dreadful experience, though, I now understand in a profound way the agonies borne by so many others in these islands, of whatever faith, denomination or political tradition.”
“As a grandfather now myself, I pray that his words can apply to all those who have been so hurt and scarred by the troubles of the past, so that all of us who inhabit these Atlantic islands may leave our grandchildren a legacy of lasting peace, forgiveness and friendship.”
Following his speech and visit to The Model, Charles went on to visit the Sligo Institute of Technology
The prince took a tour of the laboratory and viewed some of the Institutes’ work and projects. He met with a group of PhD cave archaeologists and saw some newly discovered exhibits.
Students explained how their research and employing cutting edge technology, led to a revamp of the region’s prehistory. The Prince was then presented with a book entitled: “The Archaeology of Caves in Ireland”.
Whilst Charles was attending his engagement, The Duchess of Cornwall stopped to visit Lissadell House.
There she attended a small reception before her husband joined her in unveiling a plaque on the exterior of the house, featuring the poem “In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz” by W.B. Yeats
Lissadell is a neo-classical Greek revivalist country house built between 1830-1835 by Sir Robert Gore-Booth. It is the childhood home of Irish revolutionary, Constance Gore-Booth, and her sister, the poet and suffragist, Eva Gore-Booth. Lissadell was also the occasional holiday home of W.B. Yeats.
After Lissadell visit, the couple attended a service of peace and reconciliation at St. Columba’s Church in Drumcliffe. They visited the final resting place of W.B. Yeats and planted a tree.
St Columba’s Church is located at the foot of Benbulben mountain. The graveyard contains a high cross from the eleventh century as a Christian monastery was once the site and dates back to 574 AD.
The next engagement would have Charles visit the County Sligo village of Mullaghmore where his great-uncle and three others died. Prior to the visit on Wednesday, Charles stated: “I look forward to seeing at last the place that he so loved, and to meeting its inhabitants.”
Before attending a private reception for those who were involved in the 1979 rescue, Charles and Camilla paid a visit to The Peace Garden. There they met with members of the community including Mullaghmore Active Group, who presented Charles with a with a painting of Mullaghmore.
Charles and his wife then walked down the village main street to The Pier Head Hotel, which was the centre for operation during the 1979 rescue efforts.
On 27 August 1979, The Prince’s uncle, Lord Mountbatten, one of his twin grandson’s, Nicholas, and a local boat boy, Paul Maxwell were murdered when an IRA bomb ripped apart the boat they were on in at Mullaghmore in County Sligo in the Irish Republic.
Another passenger on the boat, the Dowager Lady Brabourne, died the day after the attack from injuries sustained in the blast.
During his visit last year to Colombia, Charles shared hurt and anguish he felt after losing his great-uncle, Lord Mountbatten, during a visit to the Peace and Reconciliation Exhibition.
The final engagement on Thursday will see Charles and Camilla attend the Sligo Races.
Charles and his wife will join others in the Main Grandstand to watch races two and three.
After the two races, they will go on to the Winners’ Enclosure to present the inaugural Duke and Duchess of Cornwall Trophy.
On Thursday, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall travel to Belfast, Northern Ireland. They will spend Thursday and Friday attending various engagements in Northern Ireland.