Charles and Camilla visit Cork's English Market at start of Ireland tour

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have begun a two-day tour of the Republic of Ireland with a visit to Cork.

Charles and Camilla started by following in the footsteps of the Queen and travelling to the city's famous English Market.

It follows a two-day visit to Northern Ireland, ending on Wednesday in Omagh, where the couple paid their respects at the scene of one of the biggest mass killings of the Troubles.

There was a party atmosphere in Cork as the royal visitors were greeted by a local band - the product of a nationwide music education programme initially part-funded by the rock stars U2 - playing pop hits for hundreds of schoolchildren gathered outside the market and crowds lining crash barriers.

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Ireland's deputy leader, Simon Coveney, welcomed the royal visit which local politicians hope will boost Cork's profile as a major regional hub.

He said: "Royal visits enforce the normalisation of a confident and independent Ireland today with its closest neighbour, and the fact that we've moved on from the hang-ups of the past.

"Prince Charles has been to the island three times in the last three years. Today he's seeing the best part of Ireland and I think he'll get a very warm reception here.

"As you can see, people of all ages are here to make sure this is a positive day for Cork."

Cork's food hall is named after the English corporation which established the centre in the 18th century and this year the tourist attraction celebrates its 230th anniversary.

It first began trading meat in 1788 but fish, vegetables, fruit and other goods were later added and today it serves all markets, from those wanting the latest trends in cuisine to locals buying traditional fare such as tripe or blood pudding known as drisheen.

Charles and Camilla went on a brief walkabout after they stepped from their motorcade, meeting some of the enthusiastic school pupils who screamed and shouted.

Soon after arriving inside the market, the couple cut a 230th birthday cake to mark the milestone of the foodhall the Queen toured during her historic 2011 visit to Ireland.

Nearby, they were immortalised in icing with their faces decorating a display of cup cakes.