Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Royal Visit

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall have begun a two-day visit to Northern Ireland.

Their Royal Highnesses were welcomed at St Angelo Airport, County Fermanagh, by the Lord-Lieutenant of County Fermanagh, the Viscount Brookeborough, accompanied by the Rt Hon Andrew Robathan MP, Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office.

TRH then travelled to their first engagement of the day – the Fermanagh County Museums.

After a warm welcome by the Pipes and Drums of the Royal Irish Regiment, the Irish Arms Re-enactment Group and the Aughakillymaude Mummers in the Courtyard of the Castle, the Royal Couple visited the Drumclay Crannog Exhibition.

Sarah McHugh, Manager of the Fermanagh County Museum invited Her Royal Highness to view a painting depicting Her Majesty The Queen’s historic visit to St Michael’s Roman Catholic Church, following the 2012 Diamond Jubilee Service at Enniskillen Cathedral, and met the artist, the Hon Hector McDonnell.

The Duchess of Cornwall also viewed a display of Belleek China, for which the county is famous.

HRH then attended a reception in the 1881 building which was attended by around 120 guests drawn from a wide range of organisations associated with the museum.

The Prince of Wales received a Lough Melvin Gosling Trout Fly in a presentation frame, hand-crafted by Frankie McPhillips.

Her Royal Highness received a Fermanagh Silver Birch Wooden Bowl, handcrafted by local woodturner, Brendan Bannon.

AT Florence Court demesne, the Royal Couple were met on arrival by Roy Bailie OBE, Regional Chairman of National Trust; Heather Thompson, Northern Ireland Director, National Trust; and Jim Chestnutt, National Trust General Manager.

TRH were invited to tour the Pleasure Gardens and the Summer House where they met Alan Houston, Head Ranger, and Gerry Cassidy, Gardener.

Their Royal Highnesses also had the opportunity to view the restored 1848 Sawmill and Waterwheel.

The Royal Party continued to make their way to the Kitchen Garden, where they met a number of National Trust volunteers.

Moving to the House, TRH viewed some of the rooms which have been restored to a high standard and are now open to the general public during tours of the House and Garden, and were invited to view the proposed plans for the new Visitors’ Centre.

TRH took the opportunity to meet with a number of National Trust personnel.

Before departure, Their Royal Highnesses received a gift of a small cutting from the mother plant of the Irish Yew Tree, which was discovered near Florence Court in 1767.

IN the evening, Their Royal Highnesses arrived at Hillsborough Castle, County Down, there they were greeted by the Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland; Arlene Foster, Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment; and Dr Howard Hastings, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.

TRH were introduced to a wide spectrum of guests involved in the Northern Ireland tourist industry.

Throughout the evening, guests were entertained by a range of local musicians, including James Patience playing the harp, and the Arco String Quartet, one of Northern Ireland’s leading professional and dynamic groups of musicians from The Ulster Orchestra, who have performed all over the world.

The Belfast City Gospel Choir and Ibuki Taiko also performed.

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