An ancestor of Prince Charles is a 17th century Limerick bishop whose offspring had less than illustrious reputations.
The Limerick Civic Trust was established in 1983 and is the first organisation of its kind to be set up in Ireland. Since then it has been responsible for sixty six projects restoring and preserving the architectural and heritage environment of Limerick city.
Its headquarters are in the Bishop's Palace, one of the landmark buildings in Limerick’s mediaeval quarter which is centred around the thirteenth century King John’s Castle.
During the palace’s restoration, a document from the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland was unearthed which traced Prince Charles’ ancestry through the Bowes Lyon line of the Queen Mother to the Reverend Thomas Smyth who became Bishop of Limerick in 1696.
Given that the prince is also a patron of the National Trust in England, it is appropriate that he should be invited to visit the city during his forthcoming visit, says Denis Leonard, one of the directors of Limerick Civic Trust,
I thought it was a nice bond to establish between the two organisations.
Not so enthusiastic is Kevin Hannon from the Old Limerick Society, who has branded the invitation from Limerick Civic Trust as a publicity stunt.
While he agrees with the historical records which say that Bishop Smyth was an upstanding citizen and generous to the city’s poor, he says another historical fact about the bishop's thirteen children has been overlooked, as many of them did not inherit their father’s sense of liberality and decency, and could be described as,
Some of the greatest scoundrels that we ever had in the city.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 15 May 1995. The reporter is Cathy Halloran.