PRINCE Charles and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Parker Bowles have arrived in Ireland for their visit to Ireland, touching down in Shannon Airport shortly before midday this Tuesday.
The heir to the British throne was welcomed on the runway by Shannon’s Rose Hynes and Neil Pakey, plus Clare TD Pat Breen and Deputy Mayor of Clare County Council Joe Cooney.
Welcoming Prince Charles and the Duchess, Ms Hynes - Shannon Group chair - said that she took the opportunity to congratulate them on the birth of Princess Charlotte earlier this month.
“We were delighted to welcome the Prince and Duchess here to Shannon and it was another very important day for us at the airport,” she said. “Prince Charles was very relaxed and was looking forward to his visit.
“He was very friendly and warm. He was only here for a brief time on arrival but I did get to congratulate him on the birth of his granddaughter Princess Charlotte. He was like any grandfather, very proud. He said ‘that’s so kind; it’s wonderful that it’s a girl’.
The Prince remarked on his desire to visit the Burren, where Ms Hynes hails from.
“I explained to him that I was from the Burren and he said that the author and poet John O’Donoghue had always wanted him to come to the Burren,” he said.
“I knew John O’Donoghue personally and said to Prince Charles that John would be delighted today if he were still alive to know that the visit was happening.”
Shannon Group CEO Neil Pakey said the party seemed “very pleased to be here”.
“Prince Charles was, in particular, looking forward to getting a look at the Cliffs of Moher as he flies up to Galway. He thought it would be a wonderful view from the air. It was quite windy here on arrival but the Duchess said she was pleased to be here and that the weather was no different to home.
“It’s been a very busy few days here at Shannon. On Sunday we welcomed Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and today we have the Prince and Duchess,” he added.
Deputy Pat Breen, Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs, said that it was “a very significant day for Shannon”.
“This is an important visit for Prince Charles and the Duchess and, indeed, for Ireland,” he said.
“I am delighted that they have decided to fly in through Shannon, the gateway to this wonderful part of Ireland. They will feel the warmth of our welcome across the region. This visit will further strengthen relations between Ireland and the UK and I am personally delighted that it’s all starting here at Shannon.”