The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall Visit Northern Ireland

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The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall during a 2020 visit to Treverbyn Community Hall, St Austell, where they met volunteers from the local area and the Cornwall Community Foundation, of which The Duchess is Patron.

Tuesday 18th May – Wednesday 19th May 2021 

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall have arrived in Northern Ireland to undertake a series of engagements over the next two days. 

Tuesday 18th May 

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will begin their two-day visit around Northern Ireland in Belfast, where they will learn about the city at Belfast City Hall. 

Their Royal Highnesses will then hear about the importance of youth work for the future of Northern Ireland and its communities at the Education Authority HQ. 

The Prince will tour the shipyard, Harland and Wolff to celebrate the company’s 160th anniversary and congratulate workers on their work and contribution to the industry. 

At Slieve Gullion Forest Park, The Ring of Gullion, The Prince of Wales will learn of the organisation’s conservation work and volunteering projects as a Geopark. 

The Duchess of Cornwall will visit 2 Rifles in her capacity as Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles where she will meet members of the battalion and open a Welfare Garden. 

The Duchess of Cornwall will then visit a local silversmith in Hillsborough and tour her workshop. 

Their Royal Highnesses will end the day at Hillsborough Castle. 

Belfast City Hall

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will first attend Belfast City Hall. 

His Royal Highness will meet with Historians discussing the Centenary of Northern Ireland. 

The Duchess will hear about Belfast’s ambition to become a UNESCO City of Music and be introduced to the women’s steering group. 

Their Royal Highness will together meet with staff from Belfast City Hall to hear about the past, present and future of Belfast and learn of the new vision for the city. 

Belfast City Hall was the site of the opening of the first Parliament of Northern Ireland on 22 June, 1921. The Parliament was opened by King George V following Northern Ireland’s first general election held on 24 May 1921. Belfast City Council as part of their ongoing Decades of Centenary programme, are currently undertaking a range of initiatives to explore the 1921 Centenary. 

Education Authority Headquarters

Their Royal Highnesses will then make the short journey across to the Education Authority Headquarters in the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast. 

The Prince and The Duchess will meet with Youth workers who will update Their Royal Highnesses, using display boards as visual aids, on recent events. Two young people will also offer personal testimonies on their experiences and the impact of the youth services they have received. 

Their Royal Highnesses will then join a seated conversation led by Assistant Director for Youth Services, Arlene Kee. 

This visit will acknowledge the role of youth workers and their contribution to the community and keeping young people safe. 

The Education Authority is responsible for, ensuring that efficient and effective primary and secondary education and youth services are available to meet the needs of children and young people, and providing support for the provision of efficient and effective youth services

Harland and Wolff

The Prince of Wales will commemorate Belfast’s long history of commercial shipbuilding by touring the Shipyard, Harland and Wolff. 

The site offers two of the largest drydocks in Europe as well as two iconic yellow ‘Goliath’ type gantry cranes – named ‘Samson’ and ‘Goliath’. 

His Royal Highness will then proceed to the Fabrication workshop to view a welding demonstration and meet with staff. His Royal Highness will learn how the site has developed and adopted during its long history and conclude the visit by unveiling a plaque to mark the company’s 160th Anniversary. 

The visit will mirror The Duke of Edinburgh’s 1977 trip to the site. His Royal Highness will have the opportunity to meet with an employee who was present when The Duke visited as well as a fourth-generation employee whose family were also part of the 1977 visit. 

Harland & Wolff was established on 11th April 1861 by founders, Sir Edward James Harland and Gustav Wilhelm Wolff. The company’s heritage includes work on some of the world’s most iconic ships, from the RMS Titanic, RMS Olympic, HMRS Britannic and HMS Belfast, to SS Canberra for P&O and the tanker Myrina – the first supertanker to be built in the UK. 

Samson is the larger of its twin gantry cranes and was completed in 1974 and stands 106 metres (348ft) tall. Goliath was completed in 1969 and stands 96 metres (315ft) tall – the smaller of the two cranes sits slightly further inland closer to Belfast City. 

Slieve Gullion Forest Park

His Royal Highness will visit Slieve Gullion Forest Park, The Ring of Gullion, County Armagh. 

On arrival, The Prince will have an opportunity to view the scenery and receive an overview of the work carried out at the site by Geopark Manager, Darren Rice. 

His Royal Highness will proceed to tour the park, following the path through deciduous woodland and will meet donors, trustees, volunteers and conservation workers along the way. The Prince will learn how the park operates to reduce erosion on traditional stonework and supports local trade, buying sheep’s wool to create fleeces to under-lay the footpaths. His Royal Highness will also learn of the work being done to help preserve the population of red squirrels. 

The Prince will also watch a musical performance by a group of children from The Ring of Gullion Traditional Arts Partnership (TAP), a community arts association, focussed on developing expertise in the performance and knowledge of traditional music and song through increased cross-generational cultural activity and greater community cohesion in the Fairy Glen, and hear about the Irish myths and legends that surround the park. 

The Ring of Gullion is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and one of the best examples of a volcanic ring dyke system in the U.K. At the centre of the AONB rises Slieve Gullion, a dramatic landscape of rugged uplands, forest and wild terrain. The Ring of Gullion boasts incredible biodiversity. Some of Northern Ireland’s most threatened species, such as the red squirrel and the pine marten, find sanctuary there. 

The country park of which it is a part is carrying out a number of conservation activities and has a large volunteer programme. It also encourages traditional crafts such as dry stone walling and acts as a focus point for community engagement. 

2 Rifles

The Duchess of Cornwall, Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles, will visit 2 Rifles. 

The Duchess will be briefed on upcoming events for the Battalion as well as their challenges and opportunities before watching the company conduct field craft training. Her Royal Highness will officially open The Welfare Garden before departing. 

In July 2020, The Duchess of Cornwall took over the role of Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles from her father-in-law, The Duke of Edinburgh during two ceremonies at Highgrove and Windsor Castle. 

On 7th September 2020, The Duchess visited 1 Rifles, Her Royal Highnesses’ first visit to The Rifles following her new appointment. Earlier this month, 7th May 2021, The Duchess of Cornwall met Riflemen of 5th Battalion The Rifles in Wiltshire and their families.

Silversmith, Cara Murphy

The Duchess of Cornwall will then visit the workshop of Silversmith, Cara Murphy. 

Her Royal Highness will have the opportunity to view Cara’s sketches and examples of her silverwork. The Duchess will then watch Cara demonstrate part of the process of silversmithing. 

Cara set up her small business 26 years ago and is the daughter of a Silversmith, with whom she shares her workshop. Her Majesty The Queen once gifted The President of Ireland a silver jug that was made by Cara’s father. The traditional art craft has passed through generations of Cara’s family; Cara’s daughter is currently studying Silversmithing and Jewellery at Glasgow School of Art. 

Cara is a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and an Associate Lecturer at Ulster University. Cara’s commissions have included the Randox Grand National Trophy, Neven Spence Memorial Trophy – Irish Rugby Union Players Association and The Silver Trust at 10 Downing Street.