The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge undertook a three day tour of Ireland this week following in the footsteps of the Queen and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The visit included stops in Dublin, County Meath and Galway with a particular focus on young people, mental health and sustainability. William and Catherine also highlighted the relationship between the United Kingdom and Ireland and reaffirmed their commitment of friendship to the Irish people.
The Duke and Duchess arrived at Dublin Airport where they were greeted by representatives from Irish Government as well as the British Ambassador to Ireland. Their first stop was at Áras an Uachtaráin, the President of Irelands official residence. Both the President, Michael D Higgins and Mrs. Higgins were there to greet the couple along with their Bernese Mountain dog, Brod.
They then enjoyed a walk through the garden with President Higgins, Mrs. Higgins and Brod before ringing the liberty bell. The couple then visited the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin City Centre. They laid a wreath and paid their respects to those who fought and died for Irish Independence. The Queen had done the same in 2011 during her first official state visit to the country.
William and Catherine then visited Government Buildings and held an official meeting with Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar and his husband, Matthew Barrett. They both signed a guest book before sitting down for a conversation where they reaffirmed the friendship between the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Later that night the pair visited the Gravity Bar at Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. The reception celebrated Irish people from across the Arts, Sports, Business and Charity Sector. The Duke of Cambridge spoke to the crowd, joking that it was unusual for him to follow his grandmother to a pub (the Queen visited in 2011) and toasted to the United Kingdom and Ireland's bright future as friends.
William and Catherine's first engagement of Day 2 focused on Mental Health, an area that they are both very active in. Jigsaw is a mental health charity with several locations across Ireland. The couple spoke with young people who are supported by the charity. They continued focusing on young people with a visit to Savannah House, a residential facility run by Extern. The Duke and Duchess joined young people for a wide range of activities that help equip them with the key life skills they will need which include budgeting, meal planning and healthy cooking.
They joined in with the cooking, chopping some vegetables while talking to those who the charity supports before enjoying a game of table tennis where Catherine revealed that their dog, Lupo, would always grab the table tennis balls when they played at home. After Savannah House they met with some members of the public who had gathered outside and even took a choice selfie or two.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge then traveled onto County Meath where they visited Teagasc research farm. The farm works to promote sustainable farming practices and helps local farmers implement some of their research on their own farms. William and Catherine toured the facility before meeting researchers and other farmers who have successfully implemented some of these practices.
The couple continued the environmental focus with a walk over Howth Cliff which features views over the Irish Sea. Catherine has spoken about the benefits of being outdoors and the importance of reconnecting with nature, most recently sharing in the Happy Mum Happy Baby podcast that she is most happy when she is playing outdoors with her family and they are all getting dirty.
William and Catherine finished their day at a reception hosted by Tanaiste Simon Coveney at the Museum of Literature in Central Dublin. They continued to celebrate the friendship between the United Kingdom and Ireland with Prince William giving another toast. They reaffirmed their commitment to preserving and growing the bond between the two nations sharing that they both hoped this was the first of many visits to Ireland.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge began their final day in Ireland on the west coast in Galway. They attended a special event at Tribeton which featured some of the 2020 Galway acts including livefeed Galway and Galway Circus. Galway will be one of two cities to host the European Capital of Culture on behalf of Ireland this year. The Duke even tried his hand at some juggling before they headed to their second engagement at a traditional Irish pub, Ti Coili.
They met volunteers who actively promote the city of Galway and its people at Tig Coili as well as enjoying some traditional Irish music. Before departing they met with members of the public who had come out to welcome them, both of them were heard complementing the beautiful city and its people.
Continuing to promote Irish culture, the Duke and Duchess visited the Gaelic Athletic Association which has over 2,200 clubs across Ireland. They tried their hand at hurling and Gaelic football, running some drills with kids there. Catherine had a near miss when she almost hit a window during hurling practice but redeemed herself during a quick Gaelic football drill.
After the tours completion, William and Catherine shared a photo taken during their walk on Howth Cliff. They shared some of the beautiful letters they received and thanked all of the "Wonderful people" they met in Ireland.
Catherine will be able to enjoy a quiet weekend before having back to back engagements on Monday 9th March. xx