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Saturday 19 October 2019

Prince praises 'kind' Irish on pre-Brexit visit

Prince Charles greeted by ex-Irish rugby international Shane Byrne
Prince Charles greeted by ex-Irish rugby international Shane Byrne
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall attend a civic reception at Powerscourt House and Gardens in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, where he was presented with a shillelagh walking stick, on the first day of the Royal couple's visit to Ireland
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, accompanied by the President of Ireland and his wife Sabina Coyne, visit Glencree Peace and Reconciliation Centre in Glencree, Co Wicklow
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall at Powerscourt House,Co.Wicklow. They were greeted by Pat Vance Cathaoirleach Wicklow County Council and Celebrity Chef Catherine Fulvio

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla were all smiles as they returned to Ireland.

The royal couple are making their fifth diplomatic visit to the country in as many years, at the "request of the British government".

At Powerscourt House and Gardens, in Co Wicklow, Charles seemed to scarcely resist hinting heavily at feelings of frustration about Brexit.

"Whatever happens, the great thing is to go on understanding how much we mean to each other," he said.

Welcoming

"I must say you're always so incredibly kind and welcoming here in Ireland, and to put up with us yet again as we attempt to cover all the counties before we finally disintegrate completely," he said.

What "makes it special" coming to this country, he said, was being able to celebrate "all those absolutely vital links between us" that go back so many hundreds of years.

"To remind us of how much we depend on each other in so many ways," he said.

"That to me is one of the great things about our relationship."

The prince revealed that he chose to live at Highgrove mainly because it was under the care of "the most wonderful Irishman" who was " a great man for the horses".

"I remember he used to say to me every now and then, 'I'm just off to the library'," he said.

"Of course, what he was really doing was to put a very large bet on some special fancied horse he had and he won an awful lot, I can tell you."

At the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, Charles and Camilla were met by President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina.

"It's wonderful to be back," Charles told the President, while Camilla told Mr Higgins: "How nice to see you again."

Sympathetic

Mrs Higgins told Camilla she was looking "very well" and in a low voice, Camilla made some remark that warranted the sympathetic reply: "Aren't we all?"

Among the guests at Glencree were former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and former Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson, together with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris.

British ambassador Robin Barnett later hosted a reception at his residence for the royal couple and dignitaries.

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