History from across the centuries, Royalty from the 21st.

Sat 17th August, 2019
 

Prince Charles and Camilla in Ireland – mountain rescue and mill visits

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall marked the end of their two-day visit to Ireland yesterday with a separate schedule of events in County Wicklow. Prince Charles undertook two engagements reflecting causes close to his heart – gardening and mountain rescue services – while Camilla spent time at a historic mill.

The first stop for Prince Charles was Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens, where Seamus O’Brien, the Head Gardner, provided a walking tour. The collections include a large range of endangered plants which are used for public education, as well as to support international conservation efforts and scientific research. The gardens date from the mid-19th century and share elements found in the Prince’s own gardens at Highgrove, notably ponds and a wildflower meadow.

Head Gardener at Kilmacurragh gives The Prince of Wales a tour of the gardens, through a wildflower meadow (clarence house)

Kilmacurragh also boasts its own Broad Walk which features a variety of flowering bushes and shrubs and is said to be “magical” in April when the rhododendrons bloom.

The Prince also saw Kilmacurrah House, currently undergoing restoration. The house dates from 1697 and could most certainly benefit from the Prince’s keen eye for historical detail.

Charles was responsible for the saving of Dumfries House for the nation, and is keenly interested in conserving historically important buildings.

Meanwhile, The Duchess of Cornwall spent time at The Mill in Avoca. Founded as co-operative in 1723, local farmers used the mill to process crops and spin wool therefore provided critical commercial opportunities during a difficult time in Ireland’s economy.

The Mill holds a unique place in history, in that it was owned and operated by three women – the Wynnes sisters – in the 1920s and 30s. The sisters expanded the business by incorporating bright colours and intricate designs. The Duchess was even treated to a lesson on one of the Mill’s looms.

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The Duchess of Cornwall visited Ireland’s oldest working mill in Avoca Village, Wicklow, and sees how they weave blankets (clarence house)

Donald Pratt purchased the Mill in 1974 and over the years has incorporated his family into the Mill’s work. After a tour, Mr. Pratt’s son, Simon, informed the Duchess of the Mill’s more recent past. The Duchess was keen to ask questions about the length of time needed to produce a small square of cloth, and at the end of the visit was presented with a gorgeous blanket for Archie, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s newborn son. “That is brilliant. I shall certainly pass that on, it will keep him nice and warm,” she said according to the Irish Times.

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Embed from Getty Images

Prince Charles continued his day at Wicklow Mountains National Park. Wicklow is Ireland’s largest national park and includes 22,000 hectares of territory. The future King met with students engaged in conservation efforts and quite impressed one young man. Oscar Stakem, speaking to the Irish Times, said “I’ll never wash my hand again. I was rattling and my legs went from under me. I thought I was going to faint.”

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The Prince then chatted with volunteers of the Dublin and Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team. Its members are responsible for over 2,000 kilometres of territory and are trained in skills similar to those learned by The Duke of Cambridge in his former role as an air ambulance pilot. Charles spoke with Sheelagh O’Malley and Rowan, the team’s three-year-old search and rescue dog.

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Embed from Getty Images

Finally Prince Charles stopped by the Glendalough Monastic Settlement. One of the most important monastic sites in Ireland, Glendalough was founded by St Kevin in the 6th century. Prince Charles inspected buildings dating from the 10th through the 12th centuries; the Normans destroyed the monastery in 1241.

The Prince and the Duchess visited Ireland on behalf of the British Government to reinforce the relationship between the two countries and their peoples. All appearances indicate the trip was a resounding success.

prince charles visited Glendalough Monastic Site. Most of the buildings date from the 10th-12th centuries. (clarence house)

prince charles at visited Glendalough Monastic Site during #RoyalVisitIreland (clarence house)

Latest comment
  • On the occasion of prince charles and camilla’s visit ireland on behalf of the british government, May bilateral relations between Britain and ireland be reinforced further.

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