Thursday 29 September 2016

Touching moment Prince Charles meets housekeeper (90) of murdered great-uncle Lord Mountbatten in Donegal

Hundreds turn out to welcome Charles and Camila on they embark on whistle-stop tour of Donegal

Published 25/05/2016 | 13:11

Prince of Wales meets Philomena Barry, 90, who was the housekeeper of his great-uncle Lord Mountbatten. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Prince of Wales meets Philomena Barry, 90, who was the housekeeper of his great-uncle Lord Mountbatten. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Britain's Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at Donegal Castle in Donegal Town. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Britain's Prince of Wales samples award-winning sausages at McGettigan's butcher's shop in Donegal Town, as Charles visits the Republic of Ireland in the latest royal bid to solidify transformed Anglo-Irish relations. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Britain's Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall sample award-winning sausages made by brothers Diarmuid (left) and Ernan McGettigan at McGettigan's butcher's shop in Donegal Town. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall chat to butchers Ernan McGettigan and Diarmuid McGettigan during a visit to McGettigan Butchers Shop in Donegal. Reuters/Maxwells/Pool
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at Donegal Castle
Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla visit Donegal. Photo: Frank McGrath
Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla visit Donegal. Photo: Frank McGrath
Irish Dancer Ellie Ni Choilin (9) chats with Britain's Prince of Wales Charles and Dutchess of Cornwall Camilla during their visit to Donegal Castle in Donegal town. Photo: Frank McGrath
Britain's Prince of Wales Charles and Duchess of Cornwall Camilla pictured during their visit to Donegal Castle in Donegal town. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
School children await the arrival of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall have arrived in Donegal for a private visit organised by the British Ambassador and which is designed to focus on cross-border co-operation and the ‘normalisation of relations.’

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Charles and Camilla arrived in Donegal at 11.05am and were greeted by Sean McLoone, manager of Donegal Castle and by Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland.

Britain's Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at Donegal Castle in Donegal Town. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Britain's Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at Donegal Castle in Donegal Town. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Ailbhe Loughney (12) and Ellie Ní Choilín (9) from Gaelscoil na gCeithre Mástrí put on a display of traditional Irish dancing while Cian Mac Suibhne (12) played the Rowan Tree on the pipes before the royal pair went upstairs into the great hall and admired the great stone fireplace decorated with the crests of the O’Donnells – the great Irish clan whose seat this originally was before the Flight of the Earls.

They chatted with children from the Gaelscoil who were gathered upstairs to play a selection of Irish traditional airs and songs. Camilla asked one boy how long he had been playing the fiddle.

Britain's Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall sample award-winning sausages made by brothers Diarmuid (left) and Ernan McGettigan at McGettigan's butcher's shop in Donegal Town. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Britain's Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall sample award-winning sausages made by brothers Diarmuid (left) and Ernan McGettigan at McGettigan's butcher's shop in Donegal Town. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Read More: 'Donegal shamed!' - Prince Charles and Camilla greeted by two solitary protesters in Donegal town  

“They’re very good,” she observed afterwards.

Britain's Prince of Wales samples award-winning sausages at McGettigan's butcher's shop in Donegal Town, as Charles visits the Republic of Ireland in the latest royal bid to solidify transformed Anglo-Irish relations. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Britain's Prince of Wales samples award-winning sausages at McGettigan's butcher's shop in Donegal Town, as Charles visits the Republic of Ireland in the latest royal bid to solidify transformed Anglo-Irish relations. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The couple then signed the visitor’s book at the Castle before departing for the Diamond in the centre of Donegal town where a crowd of several hundred people had gathered to meet them.

Charles and Camilla spent some time shaking hands and making small talk with local people, who told them they were very welcome to Donegal town.

“We got a good day – it cleared up,” said Camilla.

One woman greeted the couple with a bunch of yellow chrysanthemums.

Read More: Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla arrive in Donegal amid tight security

They were given an official welcome by Noel Cunningham, manager of Harvey’s Point hotel and local celebrity from his regular appearances on TV3, who showed them the monument erected in the centre of the ‘Diamond’ in honour of the Four Masters- the funding for which came from a “well heeled solicitor.”

Afterwards, they paid a visit to McGettigan’s butchers – established in 1952 by Michael McGettigan and still run by his two sons, Diarmuid and Ernan.

They were told how the abattoir was at the back of the butchers. “They come around the back and are taken out the front in a plastic bag,” quipped Diarmuid.

The royal couple were offered samples of five different flavours of McGettigan’s award-winning sausages and Charles chuckled as he was told how the new variety – black pudding with cured bacon and pear – had been devised in his honour. He inquired if there were ‘chunks of bacon in it’ but declined to taste it – instead opting for the traditional ‘European Championship’ variety and declared it “very good.”

“He said it was fabulous – what else could he say?” joked Diarmuid afterwards.

The Duchess was presented with a pink rose and met little Ella Rose McLaughlin – the eight month old granddaughter of Diarmuid. The Duchess played with the baby, hitting her gently on the head with the cellophane-wrapped flower and laughing.

They then paid a visit to admire the tweeds at the Magee workshop.

In the afternoon, they will be guests at a reception at Letterkenny Institute of Technology before visiting the scenic Glenveagh National Park where they will be met by Heather Humphreys, Minister for Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht.

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