The Earl of Wessex is currently on an unannounced 2-day trip to Northern Ireland. Often for security reasons, only a handful of media outlets are privy to this information, and it is shared with the rest of us as the event begins, as is the case with this trip.
Prince Edward began his visit at Belfast City Airport, and travelled to Downpatrick from the airport to St Patrick centre. There he viewed an interactive journey based on St Patrick’s writings as well as a film showing a virtual flight across the country. Part of the centre encourages locals and those from further afield to visit the sites associated with St Patrick.
The St Patrick centre also hosted lunch for The Queen’s youngest son, and sat down to eat with local representatives.
The Earl followed lunch by a visit to Down Cathedral, and was shown the interesting features of the building by its Dean, including its pulpitum, which is topped by organ pipes reaching the Cathedral’s ceiling, a unique feature to this building. Edward signed he visitor’s book, as is tradition on most Royal visits.
Downpatrick and County Down Railway Museum was Edward’s next stop, where he witnessed current restoration projects and met with those helping with the work. The Prince unveiled a plaque at the museum to commemorate the opening of the Carriage Viewing Gallery.
Edward left the museum in an unusual way, via the museum’s station platform aboard a restored steam train, and headed to Inch Abbey.
Royal Central will, of course, keep you informed about the rest of the trip.
Photo: Northern Ireland Office/ Aaron McCracken/Harrisons