This year, the English Market in Cork is celebrating its 230th birthday and today, cutting the cake were Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and His wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
With Prince Charles and Camilla in Cork you realize that The Rebel County has come a long was from being one of the most anti-British places during the War of Independence to embracing to new entente cordial between Britain and Ireland.
In the Footsteps of The Queen
Prince Charles was following in the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth who visited in 2014 and, like his mother, he had a good laugh with fish monger Pat O’Connell.
The royal couple were accompanied by Tanaiste Simon Coveney, the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and the Lord Mayor of Cork, Tony Fitzgerald.
When they ended their visit to the English market they had bags full of goodies including smoked salmon and locally produced mozzarella cheese.
Outside they were greeted by schoolchildren, women dressed in black shawls (the Coal Quay Shawlies) and ladies dressed in period costume. They seemed to enjoy the local Cork banter.
The royals had a busy day as they then moved on to City Hall where Prince Charles addressed the gathering.
“You have no idea what a joy it is for me and my wife to be back in Ireland again.
Ireland is a country that my wife and I have come to love. Above all, the warmth of its people and the irresistible haunting beauty of its landscape.”
Busy as Bees
On to University College Cork where he was greeted by Professor Patrick O’Shea, President of UCC and he met students and graduates. He seemed to be particularly interested in the bee-keeping project run by ApisProtect using technology that prevents losses and increase productivity in beehives.
Activist Joanne O’Riordan chatted with Prince Charles about her campaigning work and discussed the technology she uses in her wheelchair.
The Prince also viewed a statue of his great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria and also a collection of Ogham stones.
He viewed the Great Book of Ireland, a manuscript containing the handwritten work of composers, artists and poets.
He listened to some Irish traditional music including a piece for the harp called The Planxty to Prince Charles which was specially commissioned by UCC to mark the royal couple’s visit.
Camilla visited a refuge centre for victims of domestic violence in Co Cork. She has been a supporter of the cause for many years . She spoke to a number of women who live in the centre. She said
It’s important that people know they always have somewhere to come back to, and they are not alone.
The first step is sometimes the hardest.
Camilla also visited a Guide Dogs for the Blind training centre.
Everyone Loves a Sailor
Meanwhile Prince Charles visited the National Maritime College and the Naval Service Headquarters where he boarded the LÉ William Butler Yeats and he met some of the families of Navy officers on duty in the Mediterranean.
Charles and Camilla ended their trip to Co Cork at a private banquet in Crawford Art Gallery.
The dinner, hosted by Cork’s Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald, celebrated the time the royal couple had spent in the county and involved many of the citizens the couple had met throughout the day.
During the visit of Prince Charles and Camilla in Cork, they stayed at the wonderful Ballyvolane House which, no doubt will be in great demand from now on.