The Prince of Wales has been presented with a piece of fossil coral from Mullaghmore ahead of his visit to the scene of Lord Mountbatten’s murder.
The 330m-year-old gift, cut from the shoreline of the Co Sligo fishing village, was given to Charles as he toured Ireland’s Marine Institute in west Galway with the Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
University College Cork geology professor Andrew Wheeler, who presented the gift, said he hoped the polished coral would provide Charles with another perspective on Mullaghmore.
“It’s 330m years old,” he said. “All of that time it’s been lying there. It grew in warm tropical seas next to a land mass with no name and which had no flag. It’s seen the tribes of Ireland come and go. It’s seen the Normans, the Plantaganets, the Tudors, the British Empire, the Troubles.
“But that history, that recent history, is really just a fleeting glimpse in its long, long history — so it adds a perspective to that recent history. It’s quite poignant and personal — a nice message about a place that has been difficult for the Prince.”
Charles will journey to Mullaghmore today to view the harbour where his godfather was killed by the IRA in 1979.
The national agency responsible for marine research, technology, development and innovation is on a scenic stretch of coastline at Renville, near Oranmore.
During his visit Charles was briefed on the work of the institute. He was shown some of the equipment it uses for conservation.
Ariculure Minister Simon Coveney joined the prince and Mr Kenny on the tour and said: “I was delighted to be able to showcase the work taking place in Galway to Prince Charles, who has long had an interest in our understanding and governance of the oceans.”
The institute provides scientific and technical advice to the Irish Government to help inform policy and to support the sustainable development of Ireland’s marine resource.
During his 40-minute visit, Charles also heard about the first transatlantic mapping survey to take place under the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance between the EU, Canada and the US.
The Irish-led survey will begin next month when the RV Celtic Explorer sails from Newfoundland in Canada to Galway.
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