William and Kate Call for “Strong Bond” in First Visit to Ireland

  • It is the first visit by members of the royal family to Ireland since Brexit.
  • The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent the morning at Áras an Uachtaráin.
  • The day ended with a stop at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.

Strengthening Anglo-Irish relations, protecting the environment, and promoting good mental health: this is the message delivered by Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, who participated in their first official visit to the Republic of Ireland. A busy schedule for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, whose expedition is part of a series of royal family commitments.

The Republic of Ireland–United Kingdom border, sometimes referred to as the Irish border, runs for 499 km (310 mi) from Lough Foyle in the north of Ireland to Carlingford Lough in the northeast, separating the Republic of Ireland from Northern Ireland. The Brexit withdrawal agreement commits the UK to maintaining an open border in Ireland, so that (in many respects) the de facto frontier is the Irish Sea between the two islands.

The royals’ efforts have been going on for years, fostering diplomatic relations between the shores of the Irish Sea. The visit emphasizes Britain’s good relations with Ireland, which is coming at a weak time. It is the first since Brexit, also in the context of uncertainty on the border with Northern Ireland.

Tuesday was a day dedicated to two issues that William and Kate have in mind, and that they are already using in another context: mental health and the environment. Children and teenagers welcomed the couple who visited Jigsaw, the National Center for Youth Mental Health, in the Temple Bar neighborhood of Dublin with a smile and a gift.

The royal couple then visited Savannah House, a social justice charity, and met with members. They received information on marine stability at the Howth Marine Institute before leaving briefly in the capital for a visit to the Irish Agricultural and Food Authority, known as Teagasc, in nearby Kildare County. Back in Dublin, they visited the Museum of Literature (MoLi), where the treasures of the culture and history of the Republic are preserved.

Duke of Cambridge, one of the six current royal dukedoms in the United Kingdom, is a hereditary title of specific rank of nobility in the British royal family. The title became extinct several times, before being revived after a hiatus of over a hundred years in 2011, when it was bestowed upon Prince William on 29 April 2011 upon his marriage on the same day to Catherine Middleton.

Yesterday, upon arriving at the Dublin airport on a commercial flight of Aer Lingus, William and Kate were met by President Michael Daniel Higgins, his wife Sabrina, and Brod, one of their dogs, at his official residence. The atmosphere at Áras a Uachtaráin, in Phoenix Park, was described by the British media as “friendly and warm.”

The peace bell rang on the estate, introduced in 2008 by Mary McAleese, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Good Friday peace accord. At the government headquarters in the center of the Irish capital, they then spoke to outgoing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his domestic partner, Matthew Barrett.

In the footsteps of Elizabeth II, and her landmark 2011 visit to Dublin, William and Kate crowned the Memorial Garden, dedicated to all Irish freedom fighters, in a symbol of commemoration and reconciliation. On the crown was a handwritten message that read, “may we never forget the lessons of history while we continue to build a brighter future together.”

In the evening, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a reception in their honor at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, where they met people from the world of sports, movies, television and the military. Just like the queen did nine years ago, William also said a few words in Irish, while Kate picked up a pair of famous Irish dark beer, Black Stout.

“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,” William said.  “Sláinte.”

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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