VIDEO: Charles and Camilla visit Heaney centre

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall arrive in Bellaghy.
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall arrive in Bellaghy.

One of the first stops in Prince Charles' and the Duchess of Cornwall's four-day tour around the island of Ireland was a visit to the Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy.

News of their visit comes following days of secrecy over who the expected VVIP visitors to the Mid Ulster centre commemorating the Nobel Laureate's life, could be.

On Friday, Mid Ulster District Council chairman Trevor Wilson said he could neither confirm or deny the suggestion Prince Charles was on his way, but he did admit two people were expected.

The poet's family are due to meet the royal couple, as are councillors representing a range of parties from Mid Ulster District Council.

But Mid Ulster MP, Sinn Fein's Francie Molloy will not be there.

He saidl he had his invitation rescinded because of the upcoming General Election, a decision that he said also involved MLAs including Sinn Fein's leader in the north - Michelle O'Neill.

The trip to Ireland is at the request of the British Government.

A statement from Clarence House said: "This visit will showcase the strength and vitality of the connections between the United Kingdom and Ireland; and the friendship and partnership that has defined our relationship over recent years.

"The Prince and Duchess's programme will allow them to honour those men and women whose sacrifice in times of conflict shaped our two countries' shared history; and to celebrate all that we do together to cement peace and secure a prosperous future."

The prince is a big fan of Heaney and was recorded reciting one of his poems - The Shipping Forecast - for the exhibition centre's talking wall.

The royal couple will also undertake a range of other engagements including officially opening a memorial garden to members of the PSNI who lost their lives on duty.

Other highlights of their visit include an engagement at Kilkenny Castle, where they will see some traditional music and watch a hurling demonstration by the GAA.

Charles will tour the United Nations Training School Ireland, while Camilla will visit the Irish National Stud. Both will attend ceremonies at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin to commemorate those who lost their lives during the First World War and Easter Rising.

Irish President Michael D Higgins will meet the royal couple in Dublin and the Prince will meet Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

The Duchess will conclude their visit with a reception at the British ambassador's residence.