Irish fishmonger is Queen’s pen pal – he reveals what he gifted her for her Platinum jubilee

0
30
Irish fishmonger Pat O'Connell with the Queen

An Irish fishmonger who became pen pals with Queen Elizabeth after making her laugh during a visit to Cork’s English Market has revealed what he gave her as a jubilee gift.

Pat O’Connell had the Queen in hysterics when the British monarch made an official visit to Ireland in 2011.

She was particularly amused by an ugly monkfish on his stall which he had labelled ‘mother-in-law fish’.

Ogham, the mysterious language of the trees The Origins of the Ogham alphabet are still a mystery for many historians, but it is primarily thought to be an early form of the Irish written Language. Bealtaine Fire

He was later invited to Buckingham Palace in 2014 where he once again came face to face with the Queen.

When the Queen, and Prince Philip, visited Ireland in 2011, it was the first time a reigning British monarch had made an official visit since Ireland became independent from the UK.

While there had been fears the visit could cause trouble, it was a huge success and helped to strengthen Ireland’s relationship with its neighbour.

O’Connell added: “The human face of the monarchy was very much shown.

“We had a laugh and a great conversation with them. That was the whole human side of it.

“I think she just wanted to be an ordinary woman for a few hours. And she enjoyed the fun and she enjoyed the banter.

“People said I made her laugh but I’m sure I would do the same with any other customer really. She seemed to get a great kick out of it.”

O’Connell was such a hit with the Queen that the British Ambassador Julian King visited the English Market a couple of months later to speak with him.

King praised the fishmonger for being himself around the Queen and said that was why he had made such an impression on her.

O’Connell explained: “Julian King was down in Cork about six or seven weeks later and he called in.

“He said, ‘Jaysus lads, this day has really rocked her’. And I said we only did what we always do.

“Julian said in many ways that was the secret, because most people, when they meet the Queen, don’t do what they normally do.

“And he said she just got such a kick out of the fun, the banter and the cheekiness. He said it is one of those visits that she remembers.

“She just got a great buzz out of it. And we weren’t afraid to give a slagging just because she was the Queen.”

O’Connell said that he sent a ‘special package’ to the Queen as a gift for her Platinum Jubilee.

He said: “I will send something. And it will be to do with Cork.

“Some fabulous photographs, obviously taken by professional photographers. It doesn’t cost anything to be nice.

“In the market we meet people from every walk of life and 99.9 per cent of them are nice.

“You get the odd one that isn’t, but she is definitely in the 99.9 per cent.”

O’Connell acknowledged that as an Irishman, it may seem a little strange that he has befriended the Queen of England but added that they had made a ‘good auld connection’ when they met and spoke of his admiration for her.

He said: “My passport is green but she is a fabulous lady with an amazing history.

“She is so much a part of history. I mean how many Prime Ministers has she gone through?

“And how many heads of state has she met? She’s been the constant in English life. I found her to be a lovely person, I’ll be honest about it, and she was very interested in Cork and the English Market and the history of it. She is just a really nice woman.

“We made a good auld connection. We had a good bit of fun on the day of her visit, and I think it was good for Cork city. And we still send letters to this day.”

 

More popular articles and videos

The real life mystery of what Maureen O’Hara whispered to make John Wayne look so shocked

Meghan Markle can trace her family tree back to Ireland

 

Matt Damon winning hearts and minds with charm assault on Ireland

Cork trio showcase Irish dancing in all its glory

 

Action hero Tom Cruise was once attacked by an old man in a Kerry pub

Celebrate with the top 10 Irish recipes

 

 

 

Liam Neeson speaks about his late wife in emotional interview

Dating site explains why Irish men make wonderful husband material

How to become an Irish citizen

 

Billy Connolly says public should ignore politicians and listen to comedians

 

Take a look inside Hollywood star Saoirse Ronan’s stunning Irish home

 

 

 

 

Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcallingJoin our community