Sunday 22 April 2018

Princely snap sent to its rightful 'home'

Majella O'Sullivan

A GIFT given by Prince Albert II of Monaco to President Mary McAleese during his state visit last month has been sent to its rightful home.

When Mrs McAleese received a framed montage of photographs, taken by the prince's great-great-grandfather, Prince Albert I, when he was on an expedition in 1882, she immediately recognised the location as Valentia Island.

The President has close links to the island, which is located off the coast of Co Kerry, as her daughter, Emma, is married to Micheal O'Connell, son of Kerry footballing legend Mick O'Connell, who comes from the area.

Mrs McAleese immediately arranged for the picture to be presented to members of Valentia Heritage and it is now on display in the local museum.

In 1882 Prince Albert I, who was a renowned oceanographer, was studying the Gulf stream and during the expedition his ship, the 'Heirondelle' -- a giant schooner carrying 18 crew -- became marooned on Valentia.

Of his two months on the island the prince wrote: "I cannot say that time passed slowly here because I loved these wild countries and between working, fishing and taking photos the days go by quickly." The entry is dated June 11, 1882.

The montage also includes a photograph of Valentia and a photograph of the Monegasque royal with his crew.

"President Mary McAleese immediately recognised it as Valentia when she was given the gift by Prince Albert and thought Valentia was its natural home," Anita Guiney of Valentia Heritage told the Irish Independent.

Irish Independent

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