Saturday 21 July 2018

'At last I got a chance to see Kerry' - Britain's Prince Charles enjoys 'remarkable' visit to the county

Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall pictured as the took a stroll along Derrynane beach during their visit to Derrynane House in Caherdaniel Co Kerry. Picture Credit:Frank McGrath
Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall pictured as the took a stroll along Derrynane beach during their visit to Derrynane House in Caherdaniel Co Kerry. Picture Credit:Frank McGrath
Britain's Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall walk with the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan (left), as they arrive for a Garden Party at Killarney House as part of their tour of Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Britain's Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have arrived at the home of the Daniel O'Connell as their tour of Ireland continues.

Charles and Camilla arrived at Derrynane House in County Kerry by helicopter to learn more about the life and times of one of Ireland's most famous sons.

Earlier, the couple arrived in Tralee, Co Kerry, for a visit to Siamsa Tire, the National Folk Theatre of Ireland.

Schoolchildren lined the path leading to the landmark building, with Charles and Camilla stopping to say hello. Inside they were welcomed with a performance from the theatre's choir.

Mayor of Kerry John Sheahan said: "Today is the kind of day we have been waiting for for a long, long time.

"It's an absolutely massive lift to the county. I think we'll see a lot of English people coming here now because of the exposure and the reception they have received.

"There has been no stone unturned to do the very best. When this is televised in England it will do only good things - it'll be very helpful for Ireland.

"It is the first time I have met royalty so I am embracing that moment."

Siamsa Tire is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018.

During their visit to the building, the design of which is inspired by the ancient Ring Forts of Kerry, the royals watched dancers rehearse a performance of the hard-shoe style of Munnix, which is unique to the north Kerry area.

They moved to the main auditorium to see a reprise of the first performance from 50 years ago - a dramatisation of rural life in Ireland called Fado Fado.

Around 37,000 visitors pack the 350-seat theatre between May and September every year.

After the show the couple were presented with a piece of slate from Valentia Island, before being shown some local food produce and touring a biodiversity area.

On his departure from the theatre, Charles was asked how he had enjoyed Co Kerry.

"Remarkable," he replied.

"At last I got a chance to see Kerry."

Among those introduced to the Royal couple when they visited Siamsa Tire was 93-year-old Kathleen O'Shea, who served in the British Army for almost 30 years, including during the Second World War.

"During the war years the Queen served in the ATS, the Auxiliary Territorial Service, and I served in that as well," she said

The pensioner from Tralee, who wore her medals for the occasion, said she was delighted to meet Charles and Camilla.

"It was very pleasant," she said.

The theatre's artistic director Jonathan Kelliher said everyone had been looking forward to the royal visit.

"There has been a buzz around here for weeks now with anticipation and we are so delighted it went so well," he said.

"I think the prince and duchess were blown away by what they saw."

Mr Kelliher, a talented dancer himself, joined in one of the routines put on for the Royal couple.

"The Prince was even saying he might be a bit too old to take up dancing himself, but he'd like to try it," he joked.

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