Three years after The Queen made a historic trip to Ireland, Prince Charles will journey on his own four-day trip today.
A highlight during his tour of Ireland includes the fact that he will be the first royal to meet the Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams, as he has accepted the Prince’s invitation to an event in Galway.
During The Queen’s trip, she did meet and shake hands with Martin McGuinness but never met with Adams.
It has been confirmed by Sinn Fein that Prince Charles will meet both Adams and McGuinness during his four-day trip.
Chair of the party, Declan Kearney, noted that: “This was agreed to promote the process of resolving past injustices and promoting reconciliation and healing.”
Prince Charles’s great uncle, Lord Mountbatten, was murdered by the IRA in 1979 by a remotely detonating bomb on his fishing boat at Mullaghmore in County Sligo.
The Prince will visit the site where Lord Mountbatten was killed off of the west coast of Ireland.
As a cousin to Her Majesty and an uncle to Prince Philip, Lord Mountbatten acted as not only a mentor but a father figure to Prince Charles, making this a very personal trip.
A local fisherman and tour guide, Peter Power gave his opinion of the visit: “It has to be terribly emotional for him.
“It is emotional for the total community. That’s why you’ll find very few people want to talk to you.
“It might have happened 35 years ago but it’s still very, very raw in everybody’s memory.”
As godson of Queen Victoria, this was the closest the IRA ever came to the British monarchy over the 40 years of the Troubles.
Tragically Lord Mountbatten’s grandson, Nicolas Knatchbull, the Dowager Lady Brabourne – Nicholas’ paternal grandmother – and their local boat boy, Paul Maxwell, were also killed in the bombing.
Past boat boy for the Earl, Liam Carey, spoke of the horror and disbelief that shook Mullaghmore: “They just couldn’t believe that such a terrible act could take place in a relatively quiet seaside place that nobody knew much about at all but then the whole world knew about it,”
Only hours later, 18 British soldiers had their lives taken away from another IRA bomb at Narrow Water, Warrenpoint in Northern Ireland.
As part of the reconciliation, Prince Charles will attend a service of peace at a church which is also a spot where poet WB Yeats is buried.
“We all need healing. Somehow we are all human. We are all on the journey together…He happens to be a prince and we happen to be ordinary people but together, somehow or other, our common humanity binds us together,” said Sister Kathleen Rooney, a member of the Sister of Mercy, Mullaghmore.
The four-day tour will wrap up with The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall attending multiple engagements in Northern Ireland.
Photo Credit: Dan Marsh via Flickr