After a secret flight from France, General Charles de Gaulle, yesterday (Saturday) settled in to closely-guarded seclusion at a picturesque hotel overlooking the sea in County Kerry - one of Ireland's most famous resort areas.
HOTEL FROM BAY; CLOSED GATE AND DRIVEWAY; POLICE AND PRESSMEN OUTSIDE GROUNDS; POLICE PATROLLING GROUNDS AND BAY; PRIEST ARRIVING; VIEWS OF VILLAGE OF SNEEM AND SURROUNDING COUNTRYSIDE.
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Background: After a secret flight from France, General Charles de Gaulle, yesterday (Saturday) settled in to closely-guarded seclusion at a picturesque hotel overlooking the sea in County Kerry - one of Ireland's most famous resort areas. A strong police guard surrounds the grounds and the press who stand outside the gates have not yet been able to catch a glimpse of the ex-President of France.
The General's trip to Ireland was planned with perfect secrecy and precision, taking everyone - including the French people and the world's press - completely by surprise. A military jet, carrying the General, his wife and two aides, left the airport of St. Dizier near their home at Colombey-les-Deuz-Eglises, for an "unknown destination" - and speculation of their destination ranged from Canada or the United States to Africa or the French West Indies. Not until they landed at Cork Airport to be met by Irish Premier Jack Lynch, did the true destination become known.
From the airport, the party drove 80 miles (128 kms.) to the village of Parknasilla where they have taken over the entire 14-bedroom Heron Cove Hotel which stands on a 300-acre estate overlooking the sea. There, in total seclusion, they plan to remain for three weeks - past the French General Elections which have been called as a result of General de Gaulle's resignation as President following last month's negative referendum. It is reported that the move is part of the General's wish to keep totally out of the campaign - in no way influencing or attempting to influence the electorate.
Such is the security, that not even the guards from Cork who have been stationed all around the grounds and the bay, eat at the hotel - but travel the three miles to the village of Sneem for their meals.
So far, the only outsider who has been to see General and Mme. de Gaulle is Sneem's Paris priest, Father Robert Flavin, who drove to the hotel this morning (Sunday) to hold a private mass for them in the hotel's tiny lounge.
The villagers of Sneem though, hope that their illustrious guest (whose maternal grandmother was a Mrs. McCartan of County Down, Northern Ireland) will visit them once the press have eased up their vigilance, and have invited the General to the local pub for a drink of Ireland's famous dark stout beer. They also plan to present the General and his wife with examples of local handicraft.