The Kilkenny Journal

Monday, 25th September 2017
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Items filtered by date: Thursday, 11 May 2017

Prince Charles tries his hand among Kilkenny hurling royalty

Royal stresses ‘special’ connection to Ireland as crowds come out to see couple’s visit

On day two of their visit to Ireland Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall visited a number of locations in Kilkenny and Kildare, including the UN Training School at the Curragh Camp. Video: Lensmen


Prince Charles squeezed on to a small sofa with his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, in the hipsterish surroundings of Oscar-nominated animation company Cartoon Saloon at lunchtime on Thursday.

The prince had not stopped for a snack since arriving in Kilkenny that morning, so after watching a clip of the upcoming Angelina Jolie-produced film The Breadwinner, he made a plaintive plea to eat cake.

“Do you mind if I take this with me?” he asked, wrapping a slice of fruit cake carefully in a yellow paper napkin, as the Duchess finished off her tea.

Earlier, after a brief coaching session in the grounds of Kilkenny Castle with former All-Star “King” Henry Shefflin and manager Brian Cody, the prince found himself with a hurley in his hand.

He stooped to pick up a sliotar and a relieved-sounding cheer went up from aides and protocol personnel after he struck it low and found the net, as traditional musicians played the banjo and fiddle in the background.

The prince appeared delighted not to have made an exhibition of himself, saying he was glad “not to have disgraced myself entirely by missing the goal and hitting a member of the press corps between the eyes.”

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla Duchess of Cornwall during their visit to Kilkenny Castle. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish TimesPrince Charles and his wife Camilla Duchess of Cornwall during their visit to Kilkenny Castle. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

The royal couple went on to embark on an unhurried walk on a red carpet in Kilkenny Castle’s impressive Long Gallery.

So many local politicians had lined up to shake the prince’s hand that he joked to one: “Am I interrupting a meeting of the council? Excuse me.” He made a lovely subtle hit in one sentence at the many councillor hangers-on that we have tried to do in a thousand words!

The city’s sporting royalty was out in force, and the prince showed appropriate deference after being introduced by Shefflin to the chairman of the GAA county board, Ned Quinn.

“Does it cost a lot to buy all these players?” the prince asked, gesturing around.

“They cost nothing and we pay them nothing,” was the chairman’s smiling response. And rightly so after they lost the All-Ireland last year, we could add. 

Prince Charles said he had always longed to come to Kilkenny, having heard so much about it all his life, and hoped and prayed to have the chance to visit as many Irish counties as possible “before I drop dead”.

The relationship between Ireland and Britain was very special and he had every intention of making it even more so if he could.

The prince said he was was happy to see a familiar face – the Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan – who he met in Donegal last year and said he was pleased to find still in the same job. Maybe a royal hint at who he would like to see running the country in succession to Enda. 

Security in the city was discreet but tight. The public litter bins outside the castle were wrapped in a clear plastic, on which a thin blue line bore the legend: “An Garda Síochána evidence do not tamper”.

‘Dragon’s Fire’

Media representatives were wrapped in a thin blue cordon, watching from afar as the couple wandered through the farmers’ market in the sunshine.

There the prince was offered what he later described as “the most fiendish-looking drink I’ve ever seen in my life”.

He found the liquid’s name, “Dragon’s Fire”, ominous, and said it contained such a large amount of garlic that he declined to try it.

The size of the good-humoured crowds that lined the Kilkenny streets took observers by surprise. The occasional Union flag was unfurled as the couple began a walkabout after arriving by helicopter, but the Kilkenny flag was dominant. The duchess wore a green coat and the prince what appeared to be a light Prince of Wales check suit.

There was no mention of the BBC’s controversial royal drama, King Charles III, dramatising a painful transition of power, which had been broadcast the night before.

But the prince was enthusiastically squired about by a man who will soon relinquish his own crown: Seán Canney, Minister of State at the Office of Public Works. Canney’s fellow Independent Alliance TD Kevin “Boxer” Moran will ascend to the throne when the pair adhere to their agreement to rotate the junior ministry on June 2nd.
The Kilkenny Journal proved right that there was no need at all for all the barricades and street closures and that Charles and camilla would have been perfectly safe to walk freely amongst the people and enjoy the city a lot more.  That has now been proven a fact so they can return and walk normally around kilkenny just like anybody else the next time . 
We my Rory McCarthy , a ferocious- looking former member of 5th Para in the Falklands  , recipient of the George Cross,  now living in the city who the prince had invited personally to the castle.Even at 7.00 this evening people still queued up to enter city lounges to drink the royal couple's health. Sacristan of St. Mary's cathedral Jack Cody of Fatima Place  was proud that Prince Charles went through the grounds of his old CBS school to reach Cartoon Saloon base, and we agreed that as pupils there a half century ago we could never have foreseen that happen.

John Duggan enthused that Ireland and England were back together in spirit "just like the good old days" as religious differences were put aside once and for all, finally and for good,  by everybody of the thousands cheering the Royal Couple along the main streets of Kilkenny  - and the royal couple basked in  the great feeling of warmth that enveloped them in the marble city on such a gorgeous day. All the troubles were forgotten as the Irish loved the English royal couple . Charles was at his happiest and his best. 

You could see visibly that the power of the hierarchy was gone and that the Irish were back to being the best hosts that the royal family could possibly have anywhere. Pity though that the crown prince of England had to leave Kilkenny half -starved - the Tipperary stonethrowers will never let us forget that!  But today in Kilkenny you could get high on the fresh air. As he got into his car, a smart black BMW , the price was positively beaming as he waved back to the cheering crowd. It was sad to see him go, many wiped a silent tear away. 

Next time we must have a right royal bed in the castle for them to stay as long as they like!

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