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