Saturday 22 October 2016

Royal rattle took Irish weaver just 15 minutes to make

David Kearns

Published 03/05/2016 | 02:30

Princess Charlotte is captured in this portrait taken by her mother Kate and released by the British royal family this week. Getty Images
Princess Charlotte is captured in this portrait taken by her mother Kate and released by the British royal family this week. Getty Images
Ciaran Hogan at work
The wooden rattle created by Ciaran Hogan at his workshop in Galway
The white-gold rattle worth €38,000 which its American maker claimed was sent to Princess Charlotte

An Irish basket maker has won the admiration of Britain's Prince Charles, who gave his simple woven toy to Princess Charlotte for her first birthday.

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Native Galway weaver Ciaran Hogan (34) says he is "flattered" with all the attention he's received since his willow woven rattle was listed among hundreds of presents given to the little princess.

The royal toy box is already believed to contain a €38,000 white-gold rattle studded with diamonds, rubies and sapphires sent by a US firm, as well as gifts from a king, two queens, four presidents and three prime ministers.

But according to the weaver: "Sometimes the simplest toy is the best." It looks like I'm beating the sapphires," joked the 34-year-old craftsman from Joyce Country after reports that his toy was winning the "battle of the rattles".

"Children usually like the straightforward toys the most, so I'm flattered that my rattle has gotten the attention it has.

"The craic with it is that it's got seven stones inside to make the noise.

"These represent the seven deadly sins, so when the child shakes it, they're banishing them."

As it was first presented to Prince Charles last May during his historic visit to Galway, Mr Hogan said he was "surprised" that his gift had made its way into the British prince's granddaughter's toy chest.

"It's a simple enough design and only takes 10 to 15 minutes to make, so when I heard about the prince's new grandchild I thought it would be an ideal gift to remember his visit to the area.

"It was very nice to meet him as he was very friendly and did seem to be genuinely interested in the rattle."

He added: "I'm delighted he kept it, to be honest. It's very flattering."

Ciaran, who followed his father into the trade, said that the majority of his business was making turf and log baskets from willow sourced locally from Loch Na Fooey.

"I've always enjoyed the idea of being able to go out cut and harvest the willow and use it to create something from noting. There's a pride in that."

A list of gifts released by Kensington Palace shows that among the more extravagant presents received by Princess Charlotte over the past 12 months include a €40,000 silver rattle given to her by the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, and his wife, Señora Angélica Rivera.

Irish Independent

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