Events: UCC's entrepreneurial talent welcomes Prince Charles on historic visit

Photography: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision         Deputy President and Registrar John O'Halloran introduces HRH to Quercus Scholar Joanne O'Riordan.

University College Cork’s brightest entrepreneurial talent was in royal company on Thursday, June 14, as students and alumni assembled to welcome HRH The Prince of Wales to campus.

UCC – one of three Irish universities founded by Prince Charles’ great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria – played host to HRH during his royal visit to Ireland.

Greeted by UCC President Patrick O’Shea and his wife, Dr Miriam Smyth, HRH was introduced to some of the university’s most dynamic innovators.

Among them was Fiona Edwards Murphy of ApisProtect, a company which uses innovative sensor technology to monitor beehives, preventing losses and increasing productivity for beekeepers. Along with her colleague Pádraig Whelan, Fiona showcased her company’s unique technology in action, in a beehive at the centre of the iconic Quad.

Fiona Edwards Murphy and Pádraig Whelan of ApisProtect demonstrate their innovative technology for HRH. 

Over in the majestic surroundings of the Aula Maxima, Prince Charles was given a warm welcome by Deputy President and Registrar John O’Halloran who, along with colleagues, introduced HRH to several more innovators from the UCC community.

Commerce student and Quercus Active Citizenship Scholar Emily Duffy showcased The Duffily Bag, an all-weather sleeping bag she invented for the homeless. Emily was joined by healthcare activist Sarah Jameel, and disability rights campaigner Joanne O’Riordan; both fellow Quercus Scholars.

BT Young Scientist Simon Meehan, TIME magazine influencer and speaker Sophie Healy Thow, and Rebel Chilli founder Paul Moore were also among those to meet HRH, along with PhD student and medical entrepreneur Yensi Flores of GlowDX.

With his love of harp music indulged by the talents of harpist Fiachra Ó Corragáin upon arrival, Prince Charles then enjoyed a traditional performance by students from the School of Music and Theatre.

 HRH and President Patrick O'Shea pose on the iconic steps of the President's Office.

UCC’s excellence in research was represented by Professor John Cryan, who introduced HRH to the concept of ‘psychobiotics’, while Professor Pádraig Ó Macháin shared a fascinating insight into his pioneering technological work with Gaelic manuscripts.

Prince Charles was then escorted on a guided tour of the university’s collection of historic artefacts of note. The first stop was the UCC Staff Common Room, where the legendary statue of Queen Victoria stands. HRH was also invited to view The Great Book of Ireland, an anthology of work from Ireland’s most celebrated artists.

Following a walk through the North Wing’s Stone Corridor, to view Ireland's largest collection of Ogham Stones, Prince Charles was brought to the site of An Bothán; a reconstruction of the mud hut that housed the poorest of the poor during the famine.

HRH is presented with copies of the Atlas of the Irish Revolution and the Atlas of the Great Irish Famine.

Such a poignant moment was made complete with the presentation of copies of the acclaimed and award-winning Atlas of the Great Irish Famine by Dr John Crowley (an editor of the Atlas along with Mike Murphy and William Smyth), and the Atlas of the Irish Revolution by Dr John Borgonovo (an editor of the Atlas along with Dr John Crowley, Dr Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy).

HRH completed his Cork trip with a visit to The English Market and Haulbowline Naval Base.

You can watch Dr Fiachra Ó Corragáin perform an original harp piece, composed by Planxty for HRH’s visit to UCC, through this link.


Did you know?

Honey bees provide around €153 billion worth of pollination every year to the global economy, according to Fiona Edwards Murphy.

“Even though we would survive without bees, we would basically be eating meat and bread, and grain diets,” says Fiona, who explains that insect pollination is crucial for colourful fruits and vegetables.

Leaving a sugar-water solution (one-part sugar: one-part water) outside for bees will help to reenergise them during the pollination process.

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