As King Charles, accompanied by Queen Camilla, walked along the water’s edge by Enniskillen Castle last Thursday (May 25), Irvinestown man Joe Graham – who was aboard an Erne Adventures Hydrobike at the time – could hear His Majesty utter the word “amazing” as he admired the many different watercrafts that had gathered on Lough Erne for the Royal visitors.

Going off-piste, The King left the pathway, and began walking down the grassy bank to get a closer look, during which he spoke directly to Joe, asking him if the watercraft he was on was a bicycle.

“I said, ‘Your Majesty, you’re very welcome to Fermanagh, and we would offer you a go on the hydrobike if you wish’,” Joe told this newspaper of his conversation with The King, continuing: “He said, ‘Will it keep you fit?’, and I said, ‘surely’.

‘Big advantage’

“I said, ‘The big advantage about here is that Enniskillen is the only island town in Ireland, and you can cycle around the whole island’ and he said, ‘You’d need to be fit for that’.

“Peter Bradshaw, owner of Erne Adventures, was behind me, and he [told The King], ‘You can go as fast or as slow as you wish’,” said Joe, noting that King Charles seemed to prefer the look of the e-surfboards, commenting that it looked like a “more leisurely cruise”.

During their conversation, from his position on the riverbank, The King shook Joe’s hand.

“I reached out my hand and he came further down, and all I thought was, ‘Please do not slip!’,” said Joe, who was still aboard the hydrobike during the exchange.

“It was a privilege to shake hands with The King,” he added.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla had earlier taken time to talk with many other locals as they were led around the grounds of Enniskillen Castle on Thursday, May 25.

As they met with local volunteers who had taken part in the Big Lunch initiative, The King spoke with Fr. Brian D’Arcy, who was sitting as part of the group at the banquet-style table which had been set out in the castle’s cafe.

“It was lovely. It was not the first time I’ve met him, but the first time I’ve met him as King,” said Fr. Brian, adding: “And I met Her Majesty the same; I had met her, but not as Queen.

“So it was lovely to see the cross-community spirit here; everybody out to welcome them, everybody putting Fermanagh on the front foot.

“It was a beautiful day, and [with] so many voluntary committees. It was just a proud day for Fermanagh – being able to show itself as a community working together for the betterment for the entire community, and it being appreciated by His Majesty and Her Majesty.

“I know he [The King] is very keen on the environment, so we were talking about working to save the environment, and I mentioned to him that he and Pope Francis had that in common, and he agreed with that, but he said we have a lot of work to do and we haven’t it won yet,” said Fr. Brian.

READ MORE: King Charles and Queen Camilla visit Enniskillen

Genevieve Irvine, a founding member of the cancer survivorship charity SWELL, was invited to attend The King’s Coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey, London on May 6.

On Thursday, she had the opportunity to chat to him in her home town.

“He asked who I was, and what organisation, and he was actually genuinely interested. We chatted about SWELL and I thanked him for his invitation to the Coronation, and told him that he looked fabulous,” said Genevieve, adding: “I didn’t know whether I was holding his hand or he was holding mine, but we were neither letting go!

‘A fabulous day’

“It was a fabulous day, and it was grassroots volunteer charities and community groups, and he actually spent time talking to every single one of us. That was fabulous.”

Throughout the visit, The King and Queen were treated to performances from choirs and musicians.

A particularly special moment was when members of Erne Highland Dancers collaborated with McNelis Cunningham Irish Dancers to perform a dance routine together, accompanied by Noah Smith of Enniskillen Pipe Band on the snare drum, and Moya Sweeney on the bodhran.

“It actually didn’t feel real; it actually felt unbelievable,” said Erne Highland Dancers Hannah and Rachel Creddin, adding: “It was such a cool experience!”

When asked how it felt to perform a routine with Irish dancers, they said: “We had three practices altogether. It was really fun – it was good to get into different communities and make new friends. They are really nice people.”

Following the performance, The King spoke with some of the young dancers.

“He said he really enjoyed the performance and it looked really difficult to do,” said Kaela Johnston, recalling her conversation with His Royal Highness.