King Charles told Burke of his ambition to visit ‘every county in Ireland’
A hope of England’s new King, Charles III, is that he gets to visit every county in Ireland.
That’s what the then-Prince Charles told Deputy Peter Burke, Minster of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage as recently as March of this year.
“He did explicitly state that he wants to get to visit every single county in Ireland in his lifetime, and that he had a number of that he’d already been to, so he was going through the list, ticking them off one by one,” said Minister Burke.
The Mullingar minister met the then-Prince and his wife Camilla during their visit to the Rock of Cashel.
“I was tasked on behalf of the government to take them around the Rock of Cashel,” said Minister Burke this week, recalling the March 2022 visit.
He was left with a positive image of the couple who now reign as King and Queen-consort of England.
“I found them both engaging, I have to say. And one thing that struck me strongly was the then-Prince Charles’ huge love for Ireland,” said Minister Burke. He told the prince that he was from Westmeath, and gave him some of the history of the county: “And he said hopefully that he would get round to visiting.”
“He has a huge interest in history, very powerful, and you could see that it really captured him when the guide was telling him about Cashel and walking him through its historical features, and the architecture of the Rock of Cashel and the abbey.
“I was saying about the various different heritage sites that we have in Westmeath, and he seemed exceptionally engaged, I have to say, and he said that he really is so in love with Ireland and that he wants to really fulfil the ambition of getting around every county in the country.
Minister Burke added that Minister Simon Coveney has disclosed that the new King also expressed to him his hope of having the opportunity of visiting every county in Ireland. “He has been in Ireland many times, and a number of occasions in a private capacity as well. He is a more regular visitor than one would think, and I definitely have the full belief that he really does want to fulfil that ambition and get around the whole country.” Minister Burke said there was a warm welcome for the royal visitors.
“That was visibly demonstrated when I was in Cashel: the community was really out in force to meet him; to take him down to the farmers market; to the Heritage Centre; to the local school.
“The whole area was thronged with people wanting to get a glimpse of the prince and the Duchess and he was very much engaged going around, shaking hands, talking to the public.
“It struck me particularly on the site of the Rock of Cashel that he went through every individual and asked for their names and their backgrounds, and it took a substantial amount of time because there was a band there playing for him, and some dancers; and there were people who were actually running the event on behalf of the local authority, and he spent time there with everyone, talking to them and was very engaged.
“So I do think there is a genuine love for Ireland and I have no doubt, and you could see that demonstrated this week, that he is very understanding of the political tensions on the island.”