THE City of the Kings lived up to its reputation as a world class host when the Queen of England and the Duke of Edinburgh were shown the ancient wonders of the Rock of Cashel on Friday morning, before the Royal flew by helicopter over to Coolmore Studs, where they enjoyed a two-hour private stay at the world’s greatest horse breeding stud
Her Majesty was greeted off the royal helicopter in the fields surrounding the Hoare Abbey by Brendan Howlin TD, Alan Kelly TD, and Minister of State Dr Eugene Keane, Historic Properties Division of the OPW. Concerns that the once in a lifetime visit would be marred by rain were thankfully dispelled when the clouds parted just enough to allow the Queen tour around the medieval complex.
During a highly choreographed and carefully controlled visit, the royal couple were driven around the back of the Rock to the front gate, where they were led up into the Rock Cathedral via the south porch, visiting the south transept. Dr Keane gave the royal couple an overview of the history of the Rock, explaining the style and significance of St Patrick’s Cross.
Ms Aighleann O’Shaughnessy, Senior Conservation Architect, then gave a presentation of the most significant architectural features and the current conservation work inside the nave of the Cathedra, before Minister Howlin and Dr Keane escorted them to the North Transept of the Cathedral, where they paused to listen to a beautiful musical rendition of the old Irish Blessing: “May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand”, performed by the boys and girls of Cashel Community Choir under the watchful eye of music teacher John Murray.
Mr Murray said there was some last-minute frantic practising, but the teenagers came up trumps. “We had a week’s notice to put something together that was suitable and appropriate,” he told the Tipperary Star.
Full round-up of Queen’s visit to Cashel and pictures in this week’s Tipperary Star