n the harrowing journey of grief that the young teacher’s family has gone through since her horrific death in January, this was clearly a moment of deep meaning that meant a lot to them.
Ashling could well have been on stage as part of the Comhaltas group, playing the music she loved and entertaining the royals during their two-day visit.
Instead, Kathleen and Raymond Murphy, their son Cathal, their daughter Amy and Ashling’s boyfriend Ryan Casey had a private meeting with Charles and Camilla – specially requested by the British Embassy after both were wildly emotional in both countries following Ashling’s death.
Cashel was considered the most appropriate venue for the meeting as musicians from Comhaltas Ceoltóirí would be playing – many of whom Ashling knew from their own playing.
The royals spent 15 minutes with the family and offered words of comfort.
Arts Secretary Catherine Murphy then shared how she envisioned the parties. The Duchess of Cornwall was the first to meet the family and she was later joined by Prince Charles after his visit to the Rock of Cashel. The minister then left the room as the meeting was private.
It is not known what Charles and Camilla said, but the family looked relieved as they took their seats at the Brú Ború theater for the welcoming ceremony, complete with music and dancing that made the prince smile widely and even tap his foot.
After thanking his hosts for a great visit to Tipperary, he spoke about Ashling.
“Ladies and gentlemen, if I may say so, the responsibility to make a difference lies with all of us,” Karl called.
“Last year my wife called on the entire community – men and women – to dismantle the lies, words and actions that enable so much violence against women.
“In your country and mine, we have continued to see appalling attacks in recent years.
“So perhaps it is with deep sadness and sympathy that I may pay tribute to Ashling Murphy, whose name will not be forgotten, who was taken from us far too soon, and
I know was friends with many around where she performed.
“My wife and I were very touched to meet her family, who I know are here with us today – and our very special, heartfelt thoughts are with them.
“Your art, your art — the music we just heard and the dance we just saw — has a power to connect us that is visceral.
“Words often speak to the mind, but music speaks to the heart – and often in a deeply moving, almost spiritual way.”
As a sign of the bond with the family, who seemed visibly touched, there was prolonged applause after his speech.
A Clarence House official said the prince’s words were “particularly powerful” because it is the first time he has raised the issue of violence against women, while it is a societal issue close to Camilla’s heart.
Ms Martin spoke publicly of Irish and British solidarity with the grieving Offaly family.
“I know from speaking to Ashling’s family that they have been comforted by the overwhelming sympathy they have received over these past horrific months,” she said.
“Raymond, Kathleen, Cathal, Amy and Ryan – you remain in our thoughts and prayers.”
Earlier, Charles banged his own drum as he enthusiastically played the bodhrán during a traditional music session in Cahir.
Hundreds of people gathered in the square in Cahir to greet the royal couple and they were ecstatic when both Charles and Camilla walked from the traditional music event onto the south Tipperary town street to greet the assembled crowd .
The Duchess wore a green Fiona Clare dungaree dress and a green crepe coat by Bruce Oldfield, both British designers.
The heir to the British throne has now visited 18 Irish counties – six in Northern Ireland and now 12 in the Republic.
He said his ambition is to visit all 32 districts.
Arriving in Cahir amid tight security, the couple were first taken to Cahir Farmers’ Market to meet members of the Tipperary Food Producers Network (TFPN).
They toured the market stalls against the backdrop of Cahir Castle, where Matt Damon filmed part of the medieval epic The last duel two years ago. Around the market stalls they met Nora Quirke, who is looking forward to celebrating her 97th birthday this weekend after twice successfully battling Covid – once before the vaccination program and once after the vaccination.
They were then treated to a special performance by Cahir Comhaltas, conducted by Michael Harty, and Prince Charles was invited to attend the bodhrán.
After his impromptu appearance, an enthusiastic prince was greeted with thunderous cheers from the assembled locals.
He proudly recalled playing the bodhrán at the Brú Ború in Cashel and commented on his musical endeavors to mark St Patrick’s Day at a dedicated Irish heritage center in London.
After a tour of Cahir Castle – one of Ireland’s most popular film locations – the pair were taken to the world-famous Rock of Cashel, where the mist had miraculously cleared just in time for their visit, with the Duchess commenting on the beauty of the weather.
They were greeted with a roaring ancient salute by husband and wife team Simon O’Dwyer and Maria Cullen O’Dwyer, on a pair of Trumpa Mór horns designed in the mid-Iron Age and manufactured in Wales and Ireland, as they met on site Supervisor Elaine Moriarty, who also welcomed Queen Elizabeth in 2011.
The couple were then taken to the 13th-century Gothic cathedral to hear the Cashel Community School choir sing the sally gardens, followed by May the road rise to meet you – another version of the Irish blessing was sung by the choir during the Queen’s visit.
Charles asked them if any of them had sung for his mother, but it turned out they hadn’t.
He was then taken to see the Cormac Chapel – commenting on the beauty of the frescoes there.
Built 1127, Cormac’s Chapel is one of the earliest and most complete Romanesque churches in Ireland and the OPW has carried out much restoration work – particularly to the murals in the chancel which show part of a scene depicting the baptism of Christ.
Outside, he met Cashel’s senior conservationist, Terri Sweeney Meade, who said he asked very informed questions, while he also met with retired conservationist Aighleann O’Shaughnessy, who has dedicated her entire career to Cashel and met the Queen in 2011.
At the foot of the hill, the local schoolchildren were delighted to greet the prince as he descended.
“He said we put a lot of work into the signs,” said Faye Alice O’Connor, 10, of St. John the Baptist School.
“He was very nice,” added Leah Zulu, 12.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/her-music-has-the-power-to-connect-us-prince-charles-pays-tribute-to-ashling-murphy-as-he-meets-her-family-41489251.html ‘Their music has the power to connect us’ – Prince Charles pays tribute to Ashling Murphy as he meets her family