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Little Declan bewildered by Rainier's 'flying visit'

Sisters Gloria Kennedy (left) and Rita Finnerty, with their brother Derek Farrell holding a signed picture of Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly DAMIEN EAGERS

THE very important visitor who called to the modest terraced house could have been anybody, in the bewildered eyes of Declan Farrell.

Declan -- who was just a "nipper" at the time -- nestled in his mother's arms, wondering what all the fuss was about.

And it's been 50 years since His Serene Highness Prince Rainier of Monaco dropped in for a chat at the corporation house in Artane, north Dublin.

"I was only three and my memory of that day is very vague," Declan, a postal worker, said yesterday.

"I was a bewildered nipper in my mother's arms and didn't know what all the hullabaloo was about."

Prince Albert's trip to Ireland this week triggered memories of the visit by his father, who was also on a state visit at the time along with wife Princess Grace.

One of five siblings, Declan was the only one of the children at home with his mother Mary when the prince called.

"It was just a flying visit. The prince gave us a signed photograph of him, Grace and two of their children, Caroline and Albert," he said.

His sister Gloria, who was 12 at the time, added: "We were in St Catherine's school across the road and we tried to peek out to see if we could see anything."

Irish Independent