It’s no lie that Monaco is a deeply international place, with strong links to countless different cultures around the world. Italian, English, and Russian are spoken as frequently as French and, with 79 foreign embassies and consulates in its 0.78 sq mi, more than 75% of the residents are foreign-born.
It may be surprising however to know that, despite being such a global place, Monaco today also has a deep-rooted connection with Ireland. A country that some may assume has very little in common with the Rock, in reality, it has a more personal connection with the city-state than many other nations.
Despite disruptions to St. Patrick’s Day events this year, you can commemorate the patron saint with these key facts about the friendly relationship between the two countries. From the Gaelic heritage rooted in the Princely Family to a property owned on the island, here’s everything you need to know…
Princess Grace’s Irish roots
Her grandfather was a local to Newport, County Mayo in western Ireland, who emigrated to the United States in 1887. His construction company would end be creating the sizeable Kelly fortune that Princess Grace was born into.
Grace’s three trips to Ireland
Seen as an adopted daughter of the Emerald Isle, Princess Grace visited the country three times as Head of State, in 1961, 1976 and 1979. The whole family would visit, Prince Albert II travelling alongside his mother each time. She purchased her grandfather’s home in Newport and even had plans to buy a holiday home on the southern coast.
Prince Albert II’s trips to Ireland
The Prince has been to the country several times as Head of State to visit various locations and open the many exhibitions which have been held to honour his mother. In addition, he would visit as a child with the family. He revealed that he was always the child who travelled with his mother on these trips, due to restrictions on Heads of State travelling together. The Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said that Prince Albert would always have a home in the country.
Princess Charlene’s Irish roots
Princess Charlene was presented with a Certificate of Irish Heritage from the Irish government in 2015, learning that her ancestors were one of the most financially successful merchant families in Ireland during the 1500s. Her ancestors owned 5,000 acres in Dublin and owned a seaside castle and harbour just southeast of the capital.
Princess Grace Irish Library
In 1984, the library was opened by her husband to honour her memory after her untimely death two years previously. It contains her collection of Irish books and Irish-American sheet music. In association with charity The Ireland Funds of Monaco, there are residential bursaries on offer to enable literary and academic writers born or living in Ireland to pursue a project during a one-month residency at the library.
Monaco raises money for The Ireland Funds
Every two years, The Ireland Funds of Monaco hosts a weekend to celebrate the Rock’s relationship with the Emerald Isle. The charity is based in New York but operates worldwide. Funds are raised throughout the year to support various social projects, primarily focused around academic engagement.
— The Ireland Funds (@TheIrelandFunds) October 3, 2015
The Princess Grace research fellowship at Trinity College, Dublin
Prince Albert revealed in 2011 that a college fellowship at one of Dublin’s main universities would be named after the late Princess.
Prince Albert owns a roofless 3-bedroom house in County Mayo
Upon her tragic death in 1984, Prince Albert inherited the house in Newport which had belonged to his mother. It has now fallen into disrepair after many years of neglect. A campaign was started in Ireland in the 1980s to petition the Princely Government to repair the cottage. However, this was never set in motion.
Monaco-Ireland Arts Society
Monaco-Ireland Arts Society is dedicated to promoting Irish culture by presenting different literary, dramatic and musical works in the Principality. In 2014, Prince Albert attended a performance on the works and sayings of Brendan Behan, the 20th century’s most controversial Irish dramatist.