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Mayor welcomes Earl and Countess of Wessex to Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum

September 23, 2021

Children from Barbour Nursery school were delighted today with a surprise visit from the Earl and Countess of Wessex at the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum. The royal visitors dropped in on a craft workshop with Flaxie, Lisburn Museum’s mascot for younger visitors, as part of their visit to Northern Ireland.

Their Royal Highnesses were welcomed by the Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Alderman Stephen Martin; Chief Executive, David Burns and the Lord Lieutenant for County Antrim, Mr David McCorkell as they arrived at the museum. They were then treated to a VIP tour of the museum by Paul Allison, Museum Manager who was thrilled to showcase the wonderful exhibition items on display and explain their many historic royal connections.

Mayor Martin said the visit was truly historic: “It is such an honour to welcome The Earl and Countess of Wessex to our museum right in the heart of Lisburn City Centre. Seeing local primary schoolchildren, Jasmine Rooney Reid and Darragh Magee present flowers and a box of Irish Linen to our special guests, in the same way they were presented to Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in Market Square in 1953 was a particularly memorable moment.

“Our royal guests watched the production of a bespoke Irish linen napkin on a nineteenth century Jacquard hand loom and even tried their hand at the spinning wheel.

“Today is a historic day and one we will remember for years to come. I hope the Earl and Countess enjoyed their visit as much as we did.”

Councillor Sharon Skillen, Chair of the council’s Leisure and Development Committee added: “We are so proud of what our Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum has to offer. The Earl and Countess of Wessex were really impressed with our collection of damask linen and its royal links including linen from Queen Mary’s doll’s house, cloths woven for Queen Elizabeth II and a rare photograph of Queen Victoria using her own spinning wheel in 1865.

“There is so much to see here and so many ways to view our exhibitions either in person or through our digital museum. The Flax to Fabric exhibition is a particular favourite of mine and is not to be missed. Admission to the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum is free and we would be delighted to welcome you along.”

Barbour Nursery School Teacher, Mrs Cassells said the children had a wonderful day: “We are absolutely delighted to the part of this special day and the children have enjoyed every moment. They feel so special to have been able to meet and talk to members of the royal family. I highly recommend the museum’s workshops and a visit to see Flaxie the Puppet who helps bring it all to life. I would like to thank Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council for inviting us to be part of this once in a lifetime event. The children are returning to school with a wonderful tale to tell their friends. ”

Keep an eye on our social media platforms for more pictures and videos of the royal visit to the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum. You can also visit the museum website and view many of our digital exhibitions at