Northern Ireland news

Prince Philip made unofficial visit to County Donegal for meal

The late Prince Philip commanded a Royal Navy ship from 1950 until 1952.
Seamus McKinney

The Duke of Edinburgh once travelled across the border on an unofficial visit for a meal in County Donegal.

As a ship’s commander in the early 1950s, it was reported that the late royal travelled the short distance to Buncrana for a meal while attending a naval course in Derry.

A Lieutenant-Commander, Prince Philip commanded HMS Magpie from 1950 until 1952. It is believed that during that time he attended a training course at HMS Sea Eagle, the name given to the Royal Navy base in Derry.

Former business owner and sailor, Ian Piggott said it was an open secret that the Duke of Edinburgh made the journey into Donegal. Writing in 2011, Mr Piggott said the senior royal enjoyed a meal with other officers in the Green Bay Restaurant in Buncrana.

“I was at sea at the time and, when I came home on leave, my mother was full of this story. She was so impressed she had to get down and have afternoon tea in the same place. My mother was a big royal fan,” Mr Piggott said.

Originally from Troy Park in Derry, Mr Piggott was owner of McCandless and Piggott’s garage on the city’s Strand Road.

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