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Tipperary

Major security operation as Prince Charles and Camilla set to visit Co Tipperary next month

A large-scale security plan will be in place for the visit to Cahir and Cashel.

LAST UPDATE | Feb 16th 2022, 2:29 PM

A MAJOR SECURITY operation is being planned in Tipperary as Prince Charles and Camilla are due to visit the county at the end of March.

The Journal has learned that the future British King will visit Cahir Castle and the Rock of Cashel on his private visit to the area. 

It is understood that nearby Coolmore Stud owned by John Magnier will also feature in his itinerary. Magnier also has a stake in a local hotel, the Cashel Palace Hotel, which is due to open at the start of March. 

Planning is at an advanced stage and it is understood British Embassy staff have visited the proposed locations in recent weeks. 

Prince Charles’ visit to Cashel will be the second such visit of a British Royal as his mother, Queen Elizabeth, toured the area in 2011. 

Sources have said gardaí and other agencies are at an advanced stage of planning with a policing plan already developed. 

It is understood the heir to the British throne will stay in the immediate vicinity however the exact location is unlikely to be revealed publicly for security reasons. 

ireland-county-tipperary-cahir-cahir-castle-12th-century-exterior The 12th century Cahir Castle has played host to film stars in recent years as it has become a major venue for film production. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

News of the visit comes as the Metropolitan Police launch an investigation into alleged cash-for-honours scandal after the Prince of Wales and his former close confidant Michael Fawcett were reported to police over the claims.

Local Independent Councillor Máirín McGrath, from Cahir, said that she welcomed the news of the visit and said it would be a major boost for the area.

She said she saw the British Embassy staff preparing for the visit in recent weeks.

“There has been speculation among locals in the area for a number of weeks now. It is exciting.

“Cahir is a growing tourist town and the level of publicity this would bring for the town would only enhance that further – it is great he has picked South Tipperary. 

“I want to pay tribute to Tipperary Tourism for their work in this and spreading the word about the area nationally and globally. Cahir Castle also won a prestigious international award as the best film location.

“The visit of Prince Charles will be really well received here locally as the visit of Queen Elizabeth was eleven years ago,” the councillor said. 

Cahir Castle was recently scene of filming for the Hollywood movie The Last Duel, which stared Matt Damon and Jodie Comer and was directed by veteran British filmmaker Ridley Scott. 

Security sources have said that the threat against the Prince and his wife Camilla is still categorised as ‘severe’ in Ireland. 

It is understood that members of the Emergency Response Unit and the Special Detective Unit will provide specialist armed close protection cover while local gardaí will also be involved in placing a cordon around the locations. 

One source recalled a previous visit to Ireland by the Prince in the 1990s during which he stumbled across dug-in Army Ranger Wing soldiers in an observation post in Mayo while walking,

Prince Charles was in the news last week having tested positive for Covid-19 for a second time and his official twitter reported that he was self isolating. The 73-year-old first contracted the virus in 2020 and has now been re-infected two years later. 

the-ruins-of-the-rock-of-cashel-cashel-county-tipperary-munster-republic-of-ireland-europe The Rock of Cashel. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Prince Charles was a regular caller to Ireland in recent years making annual visits. In 2020, he issued a statement stating that he would not be able to visit that year due to the pandemic

In one of his more notable visits, hailed as something of a milestone in the continuing peace process, he visited Sligo in 2015 and made a trip to the harbour at Mullaghmore where his great uncle Louis Mountbatten was assassinated by the IRA in 1979. He shared a handshake with then-Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams in Galway as part of that same visit.

During that visit, and in subsequent visits, the prince of Wales has praised the progress made in Anglo-Irish relations in recent decades.

He’s also been able to sample the Wicklow Mountains National Parktry his hand at hurling, and tour the gardens of Glenveagh castle during his visits in recent years.

He had visited Tipperary previously in the early 2000s during a visit to the Waterford town of Lismore when he stayed at the Duke of Devonshire’s residence.

He and Camilla climbed the Knockmealdown mountains on that occasion near The Vee mountain pass.  

Spokespeople for the British Embassy and at Clarence House, the Prince’s residence, refused to comment when contacted. 

“For security reasons, we do not comment on visits. Announcements will continue to be made in the usual way,” a British Embassy spokesperson said. 

A spokesperson for Tipperary County Council claimed the local authority was not aware of the visit.  

A spokesperson for the Cashel Palace Hotel did not wish to comment also. 

Charles’s son, Prince William, was in Ireland for one of the most recent major visits by a royal. Visiting Dublin in early March of 2020, he joked about unwittingly “spreading” coronavirus while meeting well-wishers and asked a paramedic if he thought the virus was being a little “hyped up” in the media.

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