Prince Charles rounds off NI visit with trip to Brownlow House

Prince Charles completed his final public engagement in Northern Ireland, watching children from across the divide singing and dancing together.

By Rebecca Black
Wednesday, 22nd May 2019, 10:14 pm
The Prince of Wales signing the visitors book at the Palace Demesne, Armagh. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
The Prince of Wales signing the visitors book at the Palace Demesne, Armagh. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye

Arriving at Brownlow House in Lurgan, Charles was greeted by the sound of bagpipes before meeting one of his very youngest namesakes, two-week-old Charlie.

The baby is the son of DUP MLA Carla Lockhart who was rushed to hospital during a local council election count to give birth.

Ms Lockhart said: "Little Charlie arrived quite hastily just over two weeks ago at the election count, he was born weighing six pounds, three ounces.

The Prince of Wales is welcomed to the Palace Demesne, Armagh during his two-day visit to Northern Ireland. Photo: William Cherry

"The prince today was inquiring after him and what weight he was. It was just such an honour to meet Prince Charles and little Charlie enjoyed it as well.

"We were able to tell him that he was just two days older than his latest little grandchild Archie."

Moving through the historic Lurgan property, Charles met members of the Orange Order and Royal Black Preceptory.

Lambeg drummer Colin McCusker was among those who enjoyed a quick chat with the special visitor.

The Prince of Wales with Bernard Sloan from Whitewater Brewery at the Grand Central Hotel in Belfast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Former Ulster Unionist councillor Mr McCusker said Charles had heard the powerful Lambeg drum in action during a visit to Co Armagh two years ago.

"He was told about my father being MP for the area for 16 years and asked had I ever thought about following in his footsteps. I said I'd just left in the last week or two which he seemed to find quite funny," he said.

"I had been asked to bring one of my Lambeg drums with me, he had experienced those when he visited Loughgall two years ago, they played for him outside, so he had remembered how loud they were, so maybe that's why he didn't ask me to play for them - they are not really an inside instrument."

The visit to Brownlow House finished with music and dance as school children from across the divide performed for the prince.

A joint choir of pupils from St Ronan's College and Lurgan Junior High sang for Charles before young Ulster Scots and Irish dancers came together to put on a joint performance for him.

Earlier in the day, the Prince of Wales celebrated the best of Northern Ireland produce by pulling a half-pint of traditional Irish stout - then joked it would spoil his cup of tea.

Charles did not need to be asked twice to pour and try the glass of Belfast Black during an event showcasing artisan food and drink that is becoming a hallmark of Northern Ireland.

His taste test came during a busy day in Belfast that saw the prince and his wife learn about plans to return the city's fire-ravaged Bank Buildings to their former glory, go on a walkabout, and recognise the contribution of minority groups and charities to the life of the region.

The royal couple also fulfilled engagements at the Palace Demesne and St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh, and at Finnebrogue Artisan, Downpatrick during the second day of their two-day visit.