THE Duke and Duchess of Cambridge enjoyed a romantic clifftop walk in Howth, Co Dublin this evening as they spent some quality time together in Ireland.
Walking hand in hand and with a stunning coastline as a backdrop, William and Kate strolled along a path taking in the scenery.
The couple could have been any other husband and wife admiring the views of Howth Cliff, the popular tourist spot north of Dublin that attracts thousands of visitors every year.
In brilliant winter sunshine they followed the trail to the summit which gave them panoramic views and hugged as they posed for a picture.
Waiting at the top was Environment Minister Richard Bruton who greeted them after they completed the steep climb.
After meeting the couple, Mr Bruton said: “They 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.”
Before their sunset walk, they helped prepare the dish of the day for a group of youngsters in Ireland – after popping to a shop to teach the children about budgeting.
William and Kate joined 13-year-olds Simon and Molly to visit a village shop to buy ingredients for vegetable soup.
Their trip to the Londis store in Prosperous, Co Kildare, was supposed to be a secret but by the time they got there around 200 villagers had gathered outside to see them.
William stopped to take a selfie with Jennifer Malone, who gave him a bunch of daffodils for his wife.
Before they set off, the Cambridges inspected the fridge with the youngsters and checked the ingredients needed for the soup – all designed to teach the children life skills.
William said: “There’s only one leek. Do we have to stick to the menu?”
He then told the others in the kitchen: “We’re going to shop for you. We’ll be back in a minute. We’ll bring back all the wrong ingredients.”
The couple, who had €20 to spend, returned 15 minutes later with a bag of provisions including brown bread, butter and leeks.
Later, the couple played a game of table tennis with other young people who are supported by Savannah House, a respite centre run by social justice charity Extern.
The duchess quipped about their cocker spaniel, Lupo: “We try to do this at home but our dog keeps catching the ping pong balls.”
Each year around 300 children from across Ireland stay at the centre in Clane, County Kildare, for a maximum of three nights at a time to have a break from problems at home or while they are in care.
Earlier today, the couple visited the Teagasc Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, at Grange, Co Meath, this afternoon after meeting with a teen mental health charity this morning.
Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton were greeted at the centre by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed, and Teagasc Chairman, Liam Herlihy.
Director of Teagasc Professor Gerry Boyle, Cathaoirleach of Meath County Council, Cllr Wayne Harding, and Chief Executive of Meath County Council Jackie Maguire, as well as members of the Teagasc Authority were also in attendance.
A group of 10 sixth class students from Kiltale National School, Dunsany, County Meath, and principal of the school Eileen O’Reilly, all had the opportunity to meet the royal couple on foot of their work on projects about food production and sustainability.
Student Evelyn Donoghue (12), said she was so starstruck by the couple that she almost forgot the speech she prepared for them.
“It was very exciting, they were just talking about the projects we did, and about food and wellbeing.”
“I nearly forgot what I had to say when I saw them, but eventually I got it out.”
Another pupil, Rachel Mulligan (10), said Kate and Will advises them “to get outside more and have more sleep to get more energy.”
Principal of local primary school Kiltale National School Eileen O’Reilly said the couple told her they loved their trip to Ireland and want to return with their three children.
“They said they would like to come back her with the kids and do a cycling tour and see the Irish countryside.”
Kiltale NS Pupil Darragh Dolan said the couple loved discussing their healthy eating project with them.
“It was so exciting to meet a real life princess.”
“They were very nice and lovely to us. They asked us all about our project on healthy eating and exercise as we learned that Irish young people don’t get enough exercise and that one in four are overweight.”
They had a conversation with some local farmers and William asked them if they thought young people are still interested in becoming farmers.
“Is the future bright for farming, do young people want to get involved?” asked William.
“Do the wider public know exactly how much you guys do as custodians of the land?” he also said.
Farmer William Byrne from Kiltale in Co Meath said William asked him about organic farming and if people appreciate the quality of Irish produce.
Farmers Ronan Hughes, Justin Walsh, Teleri Thomas, David Hannon, and Donal Keane also met with the Duke and Duchess, and told them about their efforts to farm with nature on their farms by means of using the best animal genetics, grass based production systems.
The Cambridges were shown three cows, each with twin calves, by beef researchers Paul Crosson and Edward O Riordan, at Teagasc’s Derrypatrick demonstration suckler herd.
The researchers told the couple about the environmentally friendly steps being taken on Irish cattle farms to ensure beef is produced in a sustainable way, and spoke about technologies being developed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the herd.
Kate gave her first nod to Irish fashion on the trip as she wore a jacket and a pair of flat boots by Irish brand Dubarry. Her blouse was from Barbour.
The trip to Teagasc was the second engagement the couple embarked on for day two of their three day visit to Ireland.
They called into Londis in Prosperous on their way through Co Kildare, where they were seen looking at Kerrygold butter and Irish bread.
The couple will take a trip to Dublin’s Museum of Literature later today, where they will meet with Tánaiste Simon Coveney.
Earlier today, William and Kate visited Jigsaw, The National Centre for Mental Health in Temple Bar in Dublin City Centre this morning.
They commended the work produced by both the organisers and service users of the charity and met three young people from the charity’s youth advisory panel.
The visit to the charity took six to eight weeks to organise and it was the royal visit organisers from the UK who reached out to Jigsaw.
CEO of Jigsaw Joseph Duffy said: “Inside, they met some of our funders, the HSE, they met three young people who have used our services across the country and they spent the most time talking with them and their experience.
“They also met with teachers and representatives from the work we do in the community and supporting schools.
Speaking to Independent.ie, member of the panel Abigail McDonnell said how meeting the royal couple was “surreal”.
“They’re very interested in youth mental health which is unbelievable and they’re interested to know what was going on with them.
“I got a handshake from Kate, which was amazing.
“They basically just thanked us for the work that we do, which is unbelievable, because you don’t think such high up people would thank us for the work that we do,” she said.
Alex Rowan from Finglas, who is a fellow member of the youth advisory board, was also starstruck when he met the royals.
“It was crazy, I didn’t expect how normal it would turn out to be.
“When I was waiting I was nervous but they’re genuinely just the nicest people and we had a brief conversation in welcoming them and saying goodbye.”
“I had small talk with Kate, and she was saying well done for being a part of the service and it was so sweet,” he added.
Kate wore a white Reiss coat, with black jeans and a black and white polka dot blouse, while William wore navy trousers, a teal jumper and shirt.
“They were really lovely, really warm and very kind and wanted to spend time with the young people in the service,” said James Barry, service manager at Jigsaw Dublin City.
“They wanted to know a lot more about our work within our schools.
They wanted to know more but also wanted to share what they were doing in the UK as well,” he said.
The couple have several engagements in Dublin today before heading to Galway in the afternoon, where they will spend the day tomorrow.