'I have lovely memories of the man': Tributes paid by Cork trader following death of Prince Philip

'I have lovely memories of the man': Tributes paid by Cork trader following death of Prince Philip

The death of Britain's Prince Philip has been announced. Pictured are Queen Elizabeth and the late Prince Philip during a visit to Cork. 

The death of Britain's Prince Philip has been announced. 

A statement from Buckingham Palace said: "It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

"His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.

"Further announcements will made in due course."

Queen Elizabeth chatting with Tom Durcan, chairman, Market Traders Association, as the late Prince Philip looks through the food hamper with Maryrose Daly of Coffee Central on the left during the visit to the English Market in Cork. Picture Denis Minihane.
Queen Elizabeth chatting with Tom Durcan, chairman, Market Traders Association, as the late Prince Philip looks through the food hamper with Maryrose Daly of Coffee Central on the left during the visit to the English Market in Cork. Picture Denis Minihane.

"The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss," the statement added. 

'He was a lovely man' 

Pat O’Connell of K O'Connell Fish Merchants in the English Market today paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, who he described as a “lovely man” who was “so much fun”.

Mr O’Connell, whose quick wit famously tickled the Queen and her late husband during their visit to Cork in 2011, said the historic visit “only seems like yesterday”.

“We had a great laugh that time. He was a lovely man. It’s so sad to hear the news today.

“They put the English Market on the map. It was a wonderful day. I had a great chat with him.

“They were very ordinary people the two of them, the Queen and himself. I suppose you have perceptions of these people and the life they live and you kind of expect them to be something totally different from what they are in reality - they were like any other couple at the counter,” he said.

Following the visit, Mr O’Connell was later invited to Buckingham Palace where he was among some 350 Irish people invited to a reception hosted by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in 2014 to recognise the contribution of the Irish to Britain.

“I met him [Prince Philip] there as well but he didn’t stay around that night.

“The Queen did and Princess Anne was there.

“There was about seven or eight of us had a private audience with the Queen and Prince Philip first and then he went away after that and she met the bigger group later on.

“I have lovely memories of the man because he was just so ordinary and so much fun.

“It’s very sad, but he was a great age though and what a life lived,” he said.

Mr O’Connell said the positive feedback he received from the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s visit to the Market in 2011 meant a lot to him.

“It was really interesting actually because Julian King, who was the British Ambassador in Ireland in 2011, he came down to the Market six or seven weeks after the visit with Tim Lucey and he called up to us and said the Market really rocked for the Queen, she got such a kick out of it and I just said we just did what we always do, we just had a laugh and he said ‘Yeah Pat but how many people meet the Queen of England and do what they normally do?'

"He said they just loved being treated as ordinary people and having the bit of craic.

“They got such a kick out of it and I just thought yes, the Market really does have something special.”

Tribute from Taoiseach 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin also paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh. 

“My thoughts and prayers are with HRH Queen Elizabeth and her family today, on the occasion of the passing of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

"Ireland remembers the great success of the State Visit to Ireland in 2011 by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, a historic and important occasion which was a key moment in our bilateral relations. This was followed in 2014 by the State Visit to the United Kingdom by the President and Mrs Higgins, when they were hosted so generously in Windsor Castle and across Britain.

"The commitment of the Royal Family to Irish-British relations is an important part of the work we do together - and today we pay tribute to Prince Philip’s own important contribution.”

Former Lord Mayor of Cork Michael O'Connell said he was saddened to hear of the passing of Prince Philip. 

A visit to be remembered 

"I had the honour as Lord Mayor to welcome the Queen and the Prince to Cork in 2011 it was a beautiful summers day and the people of Cork came out in their thousands to welcome them both to our city and in particular the wonderful welcome they received from the English Market community. 

"The Prince was in great form and said that he was looking forward to meeting as many people as possible during the visit. The protocol for the visit had the Lady Mayoress assigned to look after the Prince on the tour of the market...The Prince would go off if something got his eye and sure enough halfway around the market Catherine, the Lady Mayoress said to me I think he’s gone. We found the Prince over at the cheese stall checking the different varieties of cheeses on offer. 

"The visit was a fantastic success and will be remembered by the people of Cork," he said. 

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