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The Cambridges

The Cambridges in Ireland: Day Three

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wrapped up their official visit to Ireland on Thursday, with a series of engagements in Galway, one of the European Capital of Culture cities for 2020.

William and Kate began their day at the Tribeton, a restaurant and lounge in Galway, to attend a reception for the city having been chosen as a European Capital of Culture in 2020.

Galway will host a series of events throughout the year under the theme of ‘Let the Magic In’ to spotlight Irish culture, and will comprise “over 1,900 events across over 150 projects with local, national, European and International artists and cultural organisations,” according to its website.

The groups the Duke and Duchess met during the reception included Sea Tamagotchi, Livefeed, Hoops, the Galway Community Circus, and the Galway 2020 Community Cast. William tried his hand at juggling—managing to impress the crowd with three balls, but couldn’t make a go with four balls in the air.

Livefeed is a youth-based music project; Hoops, a youth basketball project; and Sea Tamagotchi displays Gaelic words that are falling out of use. William and Kate chatted with some of the young people involved in each project and promised to practice their Gaelic. They were also treated to a performance by NØÖV, a band formed of teenagers and friends.

While chatting to the young basketball players, Kate asked Hoop organisers “if as many girls as boys play?” because “basketball is more fun than netball, isn’t it, because you can run with the ball?” William revealed that he played at school and always had an advantage because of his height.

They then met with the circus performers and Kate revealed that Princess Charlotte is learning gymnastics and loving it. “Charlotte is really into gymnastics, she’s doing cartwheels, handstands, everything. It’s so good for their basic skills of balance and co-ordination.”

William and Kate then paid a visit to Tig Cóilí, an Irish pub, to meet with volunteers who work in Galway. According to the Connacht Tribune, young people who recently won awards at the Garda Youth Awards were included on the guest list.

Kate chatted with a young mother, Lassa and her baby. Lassa later told reporters, “We chatted about the music and the fact that Danann is going to grow older surrounded by Irish music. I asked if they were having a great trip, and she said they were really enjoying it.

“They noticed all the Guinness on the table, and they asked if we always had it that early!”

The royal couple received special Galway Crystal glasses and vintage Midleton whiskey from pub owners Cóilí and Monica O’Flaherty and met with Gary McMahon from the Galway City Council.

The pub posted on their Facebook a brief comment with a photo of William and Kate outside the establishment: “As ya do!”

For the final engagement of their Irish visit, the Duke and Duchess visited the Salthill Knocknacarra Gaelic Athletic Association Club to play Gaelic football and try hurling. Hurling is one of two national sports in Ireland and shares similarities with Gaelic football.

After meeting youngsters and learning the rules of each sport, William and Kate each took turns playing. They also joined in training sessions with groups of children, with William asking for instructions on hurling drills, saying, “Can you show us how to do the drills? Are you guys really good? I’ve never done this before. I’ve played hockey, but I’ve never done this before.”

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Conor McGauran, the Salthill Knocknacarra Club’s secretary said that William and Kate’s visit was hugely important as “the royals have never set foot in a GAA Club before. They’re doing it in our club in Galway and in Salthill and Knocknamarra today. It’s hugely emotional for us.

“It’s history being made. Plain and simple. People have been in Croke Park before but they’ve never been in a GAA club before and I think it’s a massive indication from the Royal Family about their hopes and intentions to connect even further with the community of Ireland, not just parts of Ireland or the hierarchy.

“This is more than just symbolic, this is them playing our national sport, this is them getting involved in a community-based organisation that’s completely run by volunteerism, so to me it’s a huge message of support for Irish-British relations.”

William and Kate, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Photo by i-Images/ Pool

Following their visit to the Salthill Knocknacarra Club, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge concluded their visit to Ireland and departed for London, arriving at Heathrow Airport later in the day.

About author

Jess is a communications professional and freelance writer who lives in Halifax and has a passion for all things royal, particularly the British Royal Family.