Grow­ing bonds of friend­ship

Irish Examiner - - Opinion -

Anam cara is an old Ir­ish term for “soul friend” and in the Celtic tra­di­tion hav­ing one was re­garded as essential to spir­i­tual development.

The phrase was re­vived by John O’Dono­hue, the late poet, philoso­pher, priest and na­tive Ir­ish speaker much ad­mired by Bri­tain’s Prince Charles. In an el­e­gant and thought­ful ad­dress, the prince quoted him yes­ter­day at Cork City Hall dur­ing the royal visit.

There was al­most a spir­i­tual di­men­sion to the visit by the prince and his wife, Camilla, to Cork and Kerry, a part of Ire­land more keenly as­so­ci­ated with Celtic tra­di­tion than any other part of the coun­try. “We have felt ev­ery sin­gle one of the ‘céad míle fáiltes’ ex­tended to us,” he de­clared, as he hon­oured his hosts with cú­pla fo­cail in im­pec­ca­ble Ir­ish.

The royal visit drew thou­sands of Corko­ni­ans onto the streets of the city, just as the 2011 visit of his mother, Queen El­iz­a­beth, and her hus­band Philip, the duke of Ed­in­burgh.

The warmth and friend­li­ness of the queen’s visit was re­peated yes­ter­day in the English Mar­ket, Uni­ver­sity Col­lege Cork, City Hall, and most no­tably on the Grand Pa­rade and South Mall as the royal cou­ple chat­ted with the crowd.

This is the prince’s third visit here and that is a sign of his quiet de­ter­mi­na­tion to fas­ten the grow­ing bonds of friend­ship be­tween the Ir­ish and Bri­tish peo­ple.

Per­haps in him, we have found a royal anam cara.

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