The first details of the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall’s visits to the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have been confirmed. And their four-day trip will see them head to the races as well as pay tribute to one of the most famous Irish men of letters ever.
Prince Charles and his wife will begin their trip in on May 19th when they will attend a reception at the National University of Ireland Galway. They will meet a wide range of local people as well as learn about Irish crafts, dance and music. This part of their trip will also focus on links between the UK and Galway.
On the same day, The Prince of Wales will visit the Marine Institute in Oranmore in County Galway. It’s the agency responsible for marine research, development and innovation in the Republic of Ireland. One of Charles’s great passions is farming and his last engagement of the afternoon will take him to the Burren in County Clare. There he will learn more about agriculture there and hear about the challenges facing those who make a living in this rugged landscape.
In the evening, Charles and Camilla will attend a dinner given in their honour by President Michael D Higgins and his wife, Sabina. The royal couple welcomed President and Mrs Higgins to the UK last year when they made the historic State Visit – the first by a serving Head of State of the Republic of Ireland.
Day two of their trip will see the couple attend a reception in Sligo, which will celebrate poetry and music. The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will then go to Drumcliffe where they will attend a service of Peace and Reconciliation at St Columba’s Church. It is also the final resting place of WB Yeats and the royal visitors will pay their respects, almost 150 years to the day of his birth.
Charles and Camilla then move on to Mullaghmore to meet members of the local community. The area will have poignant associations for the Prince for his great uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, was killed just off its coast when the boat he was on was blown up by an IRA bomb. Three other people also died as a result of that bomb. The Prince has often spoken about what a great influence Lord Mountbatten had on his life. The second day of the royal visit will end with a trip to the world famous Sligo races.
On May 21st, the Prince and the Duchess move to Northern Ireland where they will carry out two days of engagements. They begin with a reception at Hillsborough Castle, The Queen’s official residence in Northern Ireland. This event will also include a concert that will feature a wide range of performers from across Northern Ireland.
On May 22nd, the royal couple will be at Mount Stewart in County Down to see the results of a three-year restoration programme on its famous house and gardens. The Prince of Wales is Patron of the National Trust which runs Mount Stewart and given his love of horticulture will have a particular interest in the work done on the grounds there. The trip will end with a visit to Corrymeela, the oldest Peace and Reconciliation Centre in Northern Ireland which was founded in 1965 and which this year marks its 50th anniversary.
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall have visited Northern Ireland together before, most recently in May 2014. This trip is Camilla’s first official visit to the Republic of Ireland although she has been there on private trips. The Prince of Wales became the first member of the British Royal Family to make a State Visit to the country when he travelled there in 1995. He paid another visit in 2002 ahead of the famous State Visit by The Queen in 2011.
Photo credit: Hans Presto via Flickr