Mullaghmore historian Joe McGowan hopes Prince Charles may be shown the effects of the Famine when he visits the Co. Sligo harbor village.

McGowan is one of the few in the village who believes the visit of the prince should be private and not the public affair planned on a date between May 19 and 22.

The historian said he fears that the public visit will once again focus world attention on the death of Earl Mountbatten of Burma, the prince’s godfather and great uncle who was killed by an IRA bomb on his boat Shadow V in the harbor in 1979.

McGowan said, “That could re-focus negativity on Mullaghmore.”

Clarence House, Prince Charles’s official residence in London, has confirmed the visit to both parts of Ireland. Further details have not yet been released but it is generally assumed the prince will be the first member of the royal family to visit where Mountbatten was killed.

“Prince Charles is probably not fully aware of the past history in Mullaghmore. I would hope that during his visit he will be briefed on the numbers of people forced to sail from there on Famine coffin ships,” McGowan said.

If a visit is to be included for the prince to Eithna O’Sullivan’s prize-winning restaurant directly opposite where Mountbatten’s boat Shadow V was berthed he will have an opportunity to learn of the effects of the Famine on Mullaghmore.

There will be a pictorial exhibition of old and new Mullaghmore in the restaurant which will feature nine Famine coffin ships that sailed from Sligo to Canada.

Their passages were “assisted” by Lord Palmerston, who was twice prime minister of England and who built Classiebawn Castle, Lord Mountbatten’s Mullaghmore holiday home. Several people died on the ships on the way to Canada.

McGowan’s reticence about Prince Charles’s public visit is not shared by the majority of the villagers who believe the royal trip will boost Mullaghmore on the tourism map.

Grainne McHugh, who was a young nurse treating the casualties on Shadow V -- four died including Mountbatten -- in common with most locals, is delighted Charles will have an opportunity for solace at the spot where the man he called Uncle Dickie died.

Mullaghmore Active campaigner Peter McHugh believes Charles’ profile, and that he was so closely aligned to Mountbatten, will be very positive for Mullaghmore.

“We really don’t think it strange that he would want to see the area where his uncle enjoyed a lot of holiday time,” McHugh said.