Day two of Royal Visit Ireland got underway today, with engagements in Dublin, Kildare and Meath for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The royal couple had a go at cooking, took a look around a research farm and took in the views of the Howth cliff path.
The first engagement of the day was down Dublin’s famous Temple Bar area, but William and Kate were not there like most tourists, to sample the pubs and bustling arts scene! The Duke and Duchess were paying a visit to Jigsaw, a youth mental health organisation.
The Duchess paid tribute to her hosts by wearing shamrock charm earrings, and shocked royal fashion watchers by bringing back a coat that was first debuted in November 2007; this was her first time wearing it since she got married. More on the fashion side of the visit at our sister site.
Sitting down for tea with with young people supported by Jigsaw and community campaigners, teachers, parents and coaches, the Royals spoke about the importance of getting a “tool box” to help deal with life’s issues. They also spoke about the impact of the organisation’s work in the many different ranges of services they provide – one-to-one, in schools and neighbourhoods and also online.
One of those who chatted to the couple during their visit, Ricky Jinks, said that “they were very interested in the time-line of mental health and if something could be done to prevent me having to seek help with Jigsaw.”
While others said that it was very important to have such “global figures” and “people which such power” come to visit them.
On a lighter (or maybe darker!) note, Virgin Media News’ Zara King couldn’t help but notice how strong the couple like their tea. When the couple left, she walked over to the table and took a photo of the drinks, jokingly posting about it on Twitter.
— Zara King (@ZaraKing) March 4, 2020
The next visit of the day was to Savannah House in Prosperous, County Kildare. But before that, William and Kate popped down to the local Londis to purchase some ingredients for the cooking they would be doing at the house. It seemed as though the whole village had decided to also go to the shop, as crowds cheered and photographed the couple and a lucky few got to meet them during an impromptu walkabout.
Savannah House is a residential facility run by the social justice charity Extern. This was the couple’s second visit to the charity in 13 months, having last visited them during their two day visit to Northern Ireland last February. The facility helps young people who are facing homelessness or are dealing with drug or alcohol addiction.
The couple seemed to enjoy their time making soup and baking cookies, before going on to play a game of table tennis against one another. All the while, they spoke to the young people about their lives and how the charity had helped them.
The Duchess revealed that her family try to play the game at home but ‘the dog keeps catching the ping pong balls’. Lupo, the Cambridges’ springer spaniel, is now roughly seven.
Before leaving Savannah House, the couple went into a private area where they quickly changed into more appropriate gear ahead of their next visit to a farm in County Meath.
— Christin Zi (@PackhamGown) March 4, 2020
In Meath, their third county to visit in one day, the couple visits the Teagasc Animal and Grassland Research Centre to learn more about its work in promoting sustainable farming throughout Ireland.
During the visit, the couple viewed a cattle field and saw several sets of young twins. In the maternity shed, they met a cow that was only born earlier that morning. They also spoke to farmers who are using the centres research in their own work and joined visiting primary school children in a session to learn about the environment, food production and nutrition.
William revealed to his hosts on the farm that he is taking a leaf out of his father’s book and has been inspired to get out and lay hedgerows in an aim to help improve the countryside. He also said that “schools, they need to be more proactive in putting the message put about where our food comes from” and to help children get into farming.
Before leaving, The Duke of Cambridge said that both he and Kate wanted to do more about rural issues, that they care about the countryside.
It was then back to the county where they started the day, but this time it was in Howth rather than in Dublin City. The couple enjoyed a romantic cliff walk in the evening sunshine. They walked arm-in-arm for some of it, breaking apart when the got close to the invited media pack.
The couple met Minister for the Environment Richard Bruton, who later said that “they remarked on how you couldn’t come to Ireland and not see the coastline so they got their wish”. Speaking to some locals who were also on the trail, the couple spoke about how they were enjoying their visit and looking forward to visiting Galway tomorrow. The Duke jokingly remarked how everyone kept taking his Guinness away just as he was about to take a sip.
Tonight, the Royals returned to the city centre where they attended a reception hosted by caretaker Tainiste Simon Coveney. At the Museum of Literature Ireland off St Stephen’s Green, the couple viewed a first edition of Ulysses and received three letters from Mr Coveney’s three children to be given to George, Charlotte and Louis.
William gave his keynote speech of the tour during tonight’s reception, speaking about the importance of the relationship between the Republic of Ireland and United Kingdom and calling for them to continue working together.
Ending the speech with some Irish; “Go raibh mile maith agat go leir”, the Duke told guests and the media that the Royal Family will continue to play their part in protecting, preserving and strengthening the bond between the countries: “I am confident that friendship, understanding and a shared vision for a peaceful and prosperous future will ensure the unique and precious bond between our people is not broken.”
Prince William touched on the past when he spoke about The Troubles and also about laying a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance, which pays tribute to those who lost their lives in the fight for Irish freedom from the British.
“Growing up, I remember seeing the Troubles that took place, which affected so many people across the UK and Ireland. This explains why one of the truly profound moments for Catherine and I took place yesterday when we laid a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance. It was a reminder of the complexity of our shared history, and as my grandmother said during her visit in 2011, ‘our islands have experienced more than their fair share of heartache and turbulence.’
“But it was also a reminder of how far we have come. It is right that we continue to remember those who suffered as a consequence of our troubled past. And whilst many wrongs have been done, it is important that we are not bound by these.”
Speaking about the country itself, the future King said how; “Over the past two days, Catherine and I have seen for ourselves why Ireland is a country looked upon with such envy. As we stood on the cliffs at Howth and looked across the Irish Sea – a mere 50 miles from the British coastline – it was easy to see why so many people find the lure of this beautiful country so difficult to resist. And beyond the breathtaking landscapes, we have received such wonderful hospitality and friendship from all those we have met.”
Before ending the speech, William toasted to the president and “to the people of this wonderful country in thanks for the warmth of your welcome on what I hope will be the first of many visits for us.”
Tomorrow, on the last day of the visit, the couple will travel to the west to visit the European Capital of culture – Galway. It will be another fantastic day, no doubt, and the couple already have plans to come back – even though they haven’t left yet!