The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge continued their first official visit to Ireland on Wednesday, with engagements focused on children and youth wellness and empowerment.
In Dublin, William and Kate visited a Jigsaw project at Temple Bar on Wednesday morning to discuss mental health initiatives.Embed from Getty Images
Jigsaw is a national charity that provides help to young people to help them combat loneliness, isolation and disconnection and offers “vital support to young people” in communities throughout Ireland.
The Duke and Duchess met with the board and staff members at Jigsaw, as well as with youth volunteers who gave them an overview of how the charity has supported them.
“I was so struck by the similarities in our community work in Jigsaw and that of Heads Together, the campaign The Duke and Duchess spearheaded in the UK,” Alba Mullen said in a media release on the Jigsaw website following the visit.
Mullen is a youth representative on the Jigsaw Board of Trustees. “I really hope this is the start of an ongoing conversation. Supporting young people’s mental health in places where they learn, live, work and play is crucial. It’s all about a collective effort.”
Jigsaw’s CEO said that William and Kate’s visit helped to shine a light “for the need for an increased focus on youth mental health services and supports. It’s a reminder to us all that we can all be that One Good Adult in a young person’s life.Embed from Getty Images
“Having exemplary role models such as Their Royal Highnesses…express this in such a genuine way is really encouraging for all of us at Jigsaw.”
One Good Adult is a campaign launched by Jigsaw in 2019 after noticing that young people surveyed almost always said they had ‘one good adult’ in their lives to talk to and to encourage adults to be that person for young people in their lives.
Following their visit to the Temple Bar and Jigsaw, the royals travelled to Savannah House in County Kildare, a facility run by Extern, a social justice charity that supports young people in many ways to deal with the issues in their lives.
William and Kate paid a visit to Extern in Northern Ireland last year during a visit to the country, visiting Roscor Youth Village in County Fermanagh.
Wednesday’s visit saw William and Kate spending time with 18 young people who benefit from the services provided at Savannah House; ultimately spending over two hours at the facility.
Savannah House opened in 2011 and “offers children who would not otherwise get the chance of a break, to avail of some time away, while others can come to stay when they are facing challenging situations at home, or in care, and while they are being supported on one of Extern’s programmes,” per Extern’s official website.
A key component of life at Savannah House is teaching young people to be independent and responsible, including lessons on budgeting and meal planning. The Duke and Duchess joined two young people, Simon and Molly, to the local supermarket, Londis, to pick up ingredients for a meal they later prepared back at the House.
Before leaving, William quipped, “We’re going to shop for you. We’ll be back in a minute. We’ll bring back all the wrong ingredients.”
Their visit to Londis was supposed to be secret, however, shopkeeper Philip Stynes admitted to reporters that he couldn’t help but tell a few people on Tuesday, and that news of William and Kate’s visit spread through the town; resulting in a crowd of around 200 people on hand to greet the royals.Embed from Getty Images
Back at Savannah House, the royals were joined by several young people in making a vegetable soup and later played table tennis with another group of young people. Kate revealed that the family has tried to play table tennis at home to disastrous results: “We try to do this at home but our dog keeps catching the ping pong balls.”Embed from Getty Images
The Duchess chatted with young people about healthy food choices, and Chloe, one of the girls who helped make the soup, said to reporters that “it’s not every day you get to make soup with royalty.”
“It was a tremendous honour to welcome The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Extern today on their first official visit to Ireland,” said Charlie Mack, CEO of Extern, in a blog post on Extern’s official website.
“The children we support are truly inspirational, and Extern is committed to providing them with the opportunity to discover strengths and abilities they never knew they had. It was wonderful to once again witness the enthusiasm and passion Their Royal Highnesses have for encouraging and empowering children. I know this day will live long in the memory of the young people and staff who were here at Savannah House today.”
William and Kate then travelled to County Meath to visit the Teagasc Animal and Grassland Research Centre, where they learned about the farm’s “pioneering research to promote sustainable farming across Ireland,” per a Kensington Palace tweet.
The royal couple met with farmers who use the research from Teagasc in practice and met with Teagasc staff to hear about their research.Embed from Getty Images
Their Royal Highnesses took a walk to Howth Cliff near Dublin following their visit to the farm, meeting Irish Environment Minister Richard Bruton along the way. He told reporters afterwards that William and Kate “remarked on how you couldn’t come to Ireland and not see the coastline, so they got their wish. And they saw it in a benign light, normally there is a wind howling – it’s really beautiful today, they couldn’t be luckier.”Embed from Getty Images
At their final engagement on Wednesday, the Cambridges attended a reception at the Museum of Literature in Dublin, which was hosted by the Irish Tánaiste, or deputy head of the government, appointed by the President on the advice of the Taoiseach.
The royals were given a tour of the Museum of Literature and were shown a first edition of the James Joyce classic Ulysses.
The Tánaiste, Simon Coveney, gave a speech praising William and Kate for visiting the Garden of Remembrance on Tuesday, saying that it was important to follow in The Queen’s footsteps, “not so much to the Guinness Storehouse” was “profoundly important for Irish people.Embed from Getty Images
“In honouring the sacrifice of those who fought for Ireland’s independence, you are signaling, from a new generation of the British Royal Family, to a new generation here in Ireland – that same spirit, those same values.”
The Tánaiste also presented the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with three letters written by his children for Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.
William then gave a speech saying, “It goes without saying that the relationship between the UK and Ireland is of vital importance, and that is why I am so pleased that Catherine and I are undertaking our first official visit here.Embed from Getty Images
“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 me took place yesterday at the Garden of Remembrance. It was a reminder of the complexity of our shared history, and that as my grandmother said during her visit in 2011, ‘Our islands have experienced more than their fair share of heartache and turbulence.’”
William continued, “Today, our relationship goes far beyond two countries that are simply neighbours. ‘We are firm friends and equal partners’, as my grandmother put it. The links between our people, businesses and our culture are inextricable, and we should all be proud to see how strong those bonds are.
“As we look ahead to some changes in our relationship, we must never forget how far we have come together in recent decades in transforming the relationships across our two islands.
“Many people deserve our deepest gratitude for their hard work, imagination and, above all, courage in bringing about these profound changes. It is vital that people of my generation, and generations to come, never take for granted the progress we have made together. We must recommit ourselves to the path of friendship and understanding.”
His full speech can be read here.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wrap up their visit to Ireland today with engagements in Galway, one of the European Capitals of Culture in 2020.