Update: Prince Charles and Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams greeted each other with a historic handshake at the National University of Ireland Galway. This was the first engagement on the Prince of Wales' packed agenda.

The men smiled and spoke to each other in the packed hall. Adams leaned forward several times to speak into the Prince's ear before Charles continued down the line of dignitaries.

On Monday evening it was announced that Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and his associate the North's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness would meet Britain's Prince Charles during his vist to Galway.

The British Prince and the Sinn Fein leaders are continuing the outreach begun when Martin McGinness met the queen in 2014.

Sinn Fein Chairman Declan Kearney stated "This was agreed to promote the process of resolving past injustices adn promotign reconciliation and healing."

Despite heightened security police described security treats as "moderate."

Prince Charles and his wife, Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Parker Bowles, began a four-day tour of Ireland on Tuesday.

In a statement released on Sunday, Adams said that a Sinn Fein Ard Comhairle (governing committee) had agreed the party should take part in the visit and see it as an opportunity for reconciliation.

Adams stated that while Prince Charles is Colonel-in-Chief of the notorious Parachute Regiment "responsible for the killings of many Irish citizens"... he also has been "bereaved by the actions of republicans," a reference to the death of the Prince's uncle Lord Mountbatten, who was killed when a bomb exploded on his boat off the Sligo coast in 1979.

Adams added that "there is a responsibility on us all to promote reconciliation and seek to promote healing."

He stated that with that in mind Republicans will attend several events. 

The Irish Times reports that the visit is being billed as the next step in improving relations which was initiated in 2011 by Queen Elizabeth’s first State visit to Ireland and with President Higgins’ first State visit by an Irish president to Britain last year.

Their trip begins with a visit to the campus of the National University Ireland, Galway (NUIG). While there, the royal couple will meet with students, plant a tree, and attend a reception celebrating the links between British and Irish crafts, music and dance.

NUIG said the visit will also focus on key research areas, including the Irish language and Celtic studies, biomedical science and engineering, environment, marine and energy, social science, informatics, data analytics, physical and computational sciences and the humanities.

Prince Charles will then travel to the Marine Institute in Oranmore in Galway. From there the Prince will head to the Burren in Co Clare, while the Duchess of Cornwall, a patron of Britain’s National Literacy Trust, will visit the Claddagh National School in Galway where she will talk to students involved in the Suas literacy program before joining a school assembly.

Parker Bowles will also attend a reception and a brief performance at the Mick Lally Theatre for the Druid Theatre Company’s 40th anniversary, and an event celebrating “regional food and drink from the Wild Atlantic Way” at the House Hotel before leaving the city.

Prince Charles and the Duchess will attend a private dinner with President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina at Lough Cutra Castle in Galway on Tuesday evening.

On Wednesday, the couple will visit Sligo for a series of events, including a civic reception, a viewing of the Niland Art Collection at the Model Contemporary Arts Centre, a service of peace and reconciliation at Drumcliffe Church, and a visit to the grave of poet WB Yeats.

Prince Charles will also visit the Sligo Institute of Technology.

The couple will then travel to Mullaghmore Harbour, where Prince Charles’s great-uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten died in an IRA bombing nearly 36 years ago. 

Their day will end with a visit to the Sligo Races.

On Thursday and Friday the couple will visit Northern Ireland, where Prince Charles will meet community organizations at the East Belfast Community Development Association and the Duchess of Cornwall will attend a reception for supporters of The Big Lunch, which she is patron of, and will also visit Ballyhackamore Credit Union.

On Thursday night the couple will attend a reception and concert at Hillsborough Castle and will spend Friday at Mount Stewart Gardens and Corrymeela Peace and Reconciliation Organization.

The Prince of Wales and Gerry Adams shake hands in Galway at the first engagement of the royal visit.Getty