On Tuesday Prince Charles visited the Burren, famous for its flora, archaeology and unique farming traditions. During the visit the Prince was introduced to local farmer Patrick Nagle, who showed off some of his livestock and also some of the work he has done to protect the environment as part of the award-winning Burren Life programme.
The Prince then met local schoolchildren who had recently graduated as ‘Burren experts’ through Burrenbeo’s ‘Ecobeo’ programme, before joining some ‘Burrenbeo conservation volunteers’ in repairing some farm walls. On his departure from the farm, the Prince was presented with a hamper of local food products by his hosts and enjoyed some traditional tunes courtesy of local teenage musicians, the Kinvara string quintet.
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, are on a four day visit to both sides of the border in Ireland. On Tuesday morning the Prince met with Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams at NUI Galway where they shared a 30 second handshake and spoke of their regrets over deaths in the Troubles.
The meeting was followed by the visit to the Burren, which contains Ireland’s highest density of archaeological sites and is home to over 70% of all of Ireland’s native flowers. A spokesperson from BurrenBeo Trust, who hosted the visit along with Burren Life, said Prince Charles arrived at the perfect time to witness this "extraordinary botanical display in full bloom, seeing Arctic, Alpine and Mediterranean wildflowers first-hand."
The Prince was told of the vulnerability of these plants and their habitats and the need for sensitive management, while hearing about the success of two community-based projects, the Burrenbeo Trust and Burren Life programme.
Patrick Nagle, on whose farm the Royal visit took place, said it was "a great honour to show Prince Charles around our farm. We told him about the work that my son Oliver and I have done over the past 5 years of Burren Life – new walls built and gates hung, scrub taken out, water sources protected, silage replaced – and about how the improved grazing that has resulted from this work has helped us to earn better environmental payments. This is a very proud day for us, for the generations of farmers who have worked the land of the Burren in the past, and for the youngsters that we hope will farm it in the years ahead."