Kate Middleton and Prince William Step Out in Galway as They Wrap First Official Visit to Ireland
With their whirlwind tour whizzing them to formal events, charities and important causes during the first two days, it was hard for locals to meet the couple first hand until Thursday. To remedy this, the couple went on a walkabout near an Irish pub in the heart of Galway, which is on Ireland’s Atlantic coast.
The royal parents kicked off the day at an event highlighting the rich history and diversity of Irish culture at a landmark art deco building — the Tribeton. They were there to celebrate the fact the city is European Capital of Culture for 2020, and some of the festival’s acts, including Livefeed, Hoops and the Galway Community Circus, were there to entertain the couple.
William also took the opportunity to provide his own impromptu entertainment, showcasing impressive juggling skills by successfully keeping three balls airborne without so much as a hint of a drop.
William and Kate — wearing a belted green dress with white polka dots by Suzannah — then headed to the family-owned Tig Colli traditional Irish pub in the city center, chatting to locals who volunteer to promote the city and its people. Landlord Colie O’Flaherty also gifted them a $200 bottle of 2019 Midleton Very Rare whiskey, plus a pair of Tig Colli crystal glasses inscribed with their names and the date of the visit.
Among the crowds waiting outside the Tig Coili pub was Katie Lemon, 21, who works at a medical device company in Galway as part of a placement from her university degree in Belfast. “I didn’t expect to see so many people. I just love the royals,” she says. “I saw them last year in Belfast and there’s so much excitement when people come out to see them.”
She adds, “It’s great that they’re here for Galway 2020.”
Jenny Jemphrey was waiting opposite the pub door with her children Thomas, 19, and Rachel, 17. Speaking about their role in keeping ties between the two countries strong, she says, “It’s important for them to come. Ireland’s a very different place to what it was 20 years ago.”
Her son Thomas, who’s a politics and history student at the university in Galway, adds, “They’re a family with special history. William and Kate are down-to-earth, humble people. They’re not high and mighty like some of them. They connect with the people.”
His mom Jenny was pleasantly surprised that thousands of wellwishers had turned out to wait for a few hours for a glimpse of the couple, considering it was during the work and school day, and agreed people were intrigued about them. “It’s great so many are here. I’m delighted about that.”
The sporty couple are set to finish their tour by joining children and young people from a local Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) as they take part in matches on the pitch.
William and Kate were on hand to learn more about traditional sports, including hurling and Gaelic football. The GAA has over 2,200 clubs in all 32 counties of Ireland. Every summer, the inter-county All-Ireland Championships in hurling and football capture the attention of the Irish public, and around 1.5 million people attend the GAA Championships from May to September.
The purpose of their tour was to “focus on the relationship between the two countries, and build on the theme of remembrance and reconciliation,” Kensington Palace said.
William and Kate “are looking forward to building a lasting friendship with the Irish people.”