The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge began their three-day visit to Ireland on Tuesday, arriving in Dublin for a series of engagements in the capital.
Upon arrival at the Dublin International Airport on Tuesday afternoon, William and Kate travelled to Áras an Uachtaráin, the official residence of the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, and his wife, Sabina.
President Higgins said to the Duke and Duchess that he was “delighted to welcome you. You’ve had lots of exciting things happening in your family.”
The royal couple had tea, signed the guest book, and held bilateral meetings with the President and his wife and then visited the gardens to view and ring the Peace Bell, which was erected in 2008, marking the tenth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
They also met Brod, the Burmese mountain dog belonging to President Higgins, and posed for photos with him.
A spokesperson for President Higgins later told the media that “the couples discussed the close ties between the people of Ireland and Britain and the importance of continuing and deepening close relations between all of the peoples of these islands.
“President Higgins, Sabina and Their Royal Highnesses spoke of the challenges ahead, including the implications of the UK’s departure from the European Union and the importance of continuing to build on the foundations of the Good Friday Agreement.
“They also discussed the global challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss and the urgent need to revisit the fundamentals of how we organise our economies and societies if we are to tackle these existential threats in a meaningful way.
“The importance of removing obstacles that inhibit young people from building their skills and realising their aspirations for a truly fair and sustainable world, and the particular importance of responding to the vulnerabilities of young people was among the other topics discussed.”
Following their visit with the President, William and Kate visited the Garden of Remembrance to lay a wreath. The message on their wreath read, “May we never forget the lessons of history as we continue to forge a brighter future together.”
The Garden of Remembrance was created in memory of those who lost their lives in the pursuit of Irish freedom and commemorates those lost in rebellions and uprisings dating back to 1798, with the rebellion of the Society of United Irishmen, and more recently, to the 1919-1921 Irish War of Independence of the Irish Republican Army.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge followed in The Queen’s footsteps laying a wreath. Her Majesty’s 2011 State Visit was the first by a British monarch since the Irish gained independence, and her move to lay a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance was lauded in the Irish media.
Following their visit to the Garden of Remembrance, Their Royal Highnesses travelled to Dublin’s government buildings to meet the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and his partner, Dr Matt Barrett. The Taoiseach is considered Ireland’s Prime Minister. Following last month’s elections, Varadkar is acting as a ‘caretaker’ Taoiseach.
The royal couple signed the guest book, which was translated for them by Varadkar from Irish. “What’s the post code for Kensington Palace?” he was overheard asking William.
Their final engagement on Tuesday was a reception hosted by the British Ambassador to Ireland at the Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse. Guests included Game of Thrones actor Liam Cunningham and other artists and members of fire and rescue, health, ambulance services, design and social services.Embed from Getty Images
The couple were served pints of Guinness by Irish rugby player Sene Naoupu. William gave brief remarks at the reception, noting that he was excited to drink Guinness in Ireland.
“Ladies and gentlemen, a dhaoine uaisle.
“Ireland is a country that we have both heard so much about, so we are really excited to be here with you to see it first-hand ourselves.
“In coming to the Guinness Storehouse we are both retracing the footsteps of my grandmother, who was shown how to pour the perfect pint here in 2011.
“Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you it is not often that I find myself following The Queen to the pub.
“But I am looking forward to testing for myself the theory that Guinness tastes even better in Ireland than overseas.”
He continued, “On a slightly more serious note I just wanted to thank all of you in the room for coming here this evening. Thank you for all that you do to support the very special relationship between our two countries.
“It has been a pleasure to meet so many of you this evening who demonstrate the breadth of our connections across the arts, sports, uniformed services, education and research, and charity sectors.
“We value it as we do your friendship and are committed to strengthening it further.
“We are very much looking forward to our next two days in Ireland, where I have no doubt we will continue to be impressed by the creativity, warmth and hospitality the Irish people have to offer.”
Kensington Palace has billed the Duke and Duchess’s visit as one that will enable them to learn about “local organisations working to support and empower young people and projects which provide opportunities to help them develop important life skills” and “hear more about Ireland’s conservation initiatives and efforts to protect its environment, with a particular focus on sustainable farming and marine conservation,” per a press briefing last month.
William and Kate continue their visit today. The rest of their visit includes engagements in County Meath, County Kildare and Galway.