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William and Kate to visit Dublin and Cork in March, but they'll miss St Patrick's Day

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ROYAL TRIP: William and Kate. Photo: Chris Weeks/PA Wire

ROYAL TRIP: William and Kate. Photo: Chris Weeks/PA Wire

ROYAL TRIP: William and Kate. Photo: Chris Weeks/PA Wire

Prince William and Kate Middleton are expected to visit Ireland in March, with preparations being put in place for a trip to Dublin.

The visit will not coincide with St Patrick's Day, but the royals are expected to leave the capital for another Irish destination. Sources told the Sunday Independent that talks between Irish officials and Buckingham Palace are ongoing but Cork is likely to feature as part of the visit.

Officials here usually get advance notice of royal visits and itineraries prior to trips for security arrangements to be put in place. However, these are currently at an early stage, said a source who added the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will "certainly" visit Dublin during their stay.

"Negotiations are ongoing and they will be in Dublin and one other destination outside of the capital," a source said.

Cork has been the focus of talks about a second Irish city to be taken in as part of the trip. Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip famously visited Cork's English Market in 2011 during a State visit, the first by a reigning monarch for 100 years. This paved the way for follow-up visits by various members of the royal family, including a mini-moon for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after they married in 2018. They visited Dublin on their first trip to Ireland as a royal couple just weeks after Prince Charles and Camilla travelled to Cork retracing the Queen's visit to the English Market.

A source, with knowledge of the plans for William and Kate to travel to Ireland, said Cork has been high on the royals' list since the Queen's State visit. "It is likely William and Kate will go somewhere else too [outside Dublin].

"Cork has been mentioned and that seems to be somewhere they like. Charles and Camilla were keen to go there after his mother went to Cork."

A source said the royal visit will not coincide with the St Patrick's Day celebrations, as the Government will be abroad attending trade missions and parades.

Sunday Independent