Prince Charles has only flattering words for Donegal during royal visit
Published 25/05/2016 | 19:36
The PRINCE of Wales has told of his great happiness to be back in Ireland, describing Donegal as “a place of dramatic and beautiful scenery, of music and storytelling, of myth, legend and the Irish language”.
Prince Charles addressed a civic reception at Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) where he told those gathered that it was always “the greatest possible pleasure for my wife and I to visit this wonderful country”.
Praising the scenery and rich history of Donegal, he added that it was a place “where the link between man and the land is still so well understood”.
He said the relationship between Britain and Ireland was now better than ever and the relationship between the communities on the island of Ireland had changed fundamentally since the peace agreement of 1998.
“This is as evident here as anywhere. The border is of the merest consequence. And Co Donegal, Co Derry or Londonderry and Co Tyrone operate as a single economic entity to the great benefit of their inhabitants.
“So I can only applaud the people of all three counties for proving that it is possible for communities that have been divided for so long to overcome their differences and create a peaceful and prosperous life together.
“I do so hope that the example you have set will be copied in other areas of the world that have suffered so much conflict,” he added.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were guests of honour at a civic reception hosted by Donegal County Council, focused on cross-border cooperation and development.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan greeted the royal couple on arrival at LYIT for the event.
He said the visit marked the 21st century friendship between the two countries and the ever-growing efforts to work together.
“Working together between Britain and Ireland. Working together north and south on this island. Working together across our open border, between neighbouring counties – indeed between good and friendly neighbours,” he added.
Minister Flanagan described last year's visit by the royal couple as “a powerful demonstration of our two countries’ shared focus on peace and reconciliation”.
He also cited the 21st century links between the two countries, in education, science and many other walks of life.
“Today, as we assemble in Donegal’s centre of educational excellence, we further celebrate those 21st century links. In particular, we celebrate the ever-increasing co-operation all across this island - and specifically cross-border partnerships across a broad range of areas between counties Donegal and Derry,” he added.
Minister Flanagan also welcomed the fact that the visit would serve to increase the international profile of Donegal and the north-west as a whole.
During his visit to LYIT, Prince Charles unveiled a plaque rededicating a building to his great friend artist Derek Hill. The Prince will pay a private visit to the artist’s home Glebe House, saying it would be a very special treat to visit the home of “my old friend and artistic mentor”.
Prince Charles met with LYIT staff and students and a number of entrepreneurs involved in the Colab incubation and innovation centre for the North West.
The centre currently supports 28 companies at LYIT and works on a cross-border basis. He also met with local food producers involved in the Donegal Coast Initiative and was presented with a number of gifts.