Tuesday 17 July 2018

Young royal newlyweds can expect a warm Irish welcome

Harry and Meghan
Harry and Meghan

Alan O'Keeffe

The arrival of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in Ireland this Tuesday for a two day visit will help to showcase Dublin in the international media.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been invited to Ireland to make their first overseas trip as a married couple.

They will visit President Michael D Higgins at Aras an Uachtarain and they will be greeted by the Taoiseach and members of the Government.

They will go to Croke Park to be treated to a demonstration of the skills needed to play hurling and Gaelic football.

The Dublin stadium is proving to be an increasingly popular visitor destination as the headquarters of the GAA.

A large number of people have been invited to attend a garden party being hosted in the couple's honour by the British Ambassador Robin Barnett.

The royals will visit Trinity College in Dublin where they will be given a personal viewing of the Book of Kells.

They will visit EPIC - the Irish Emigration Museum - where they will learn some of the stories of the 10m people who formed the Irish Diaspora in settling in countries all over the world.

There will be a sombre period of reflection nearby at the Irish Famine Memorial where statues of gaunt famine victims are situated on the dockside beside the Liffey.

Meghan and Harry will also visit DogPatch Labs, which is a co-working space for technology start-ups and they will be able to meet the students attending free coding workshops.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the couple's visit was very significant and underlined the importance of Anglo-Irish relations.

He said he was "really looking forward" to their visit and they would be made "very welcome".

"It is the first visit they will have made overseas since they got married and even though they haven't officially visited Ireland before, I think they are going to be extremely welcome and I look forward to welcoming them," he said.

Mr Varadkar said such ties were never more important between the two countries with Brexit looming.

"I think with the United Kingdom leaving Europe, we are really going to need to focus a lot more on bilateral relationships, and visits of the president to the UK or members of the royal family to Ireland to help cement that very close relationship between Britain and Ireland," he said.

While it is Prince Harry's first time in Ireland, it will not be the first visit by Meghan - she visited Dublin four years ago.

Kensington Palace stated the couple "are looking forward to learning more about Ireland's history and experiencing its rich culture, as well as meeting the people who are shaping the country's future".

It will be the second royal visit to Ireland this summer after Prince Charles and his wife Camilla visited Cork and Kerry recently.

Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said the visit of the young newlyweds will be "a wonderful opportunity to showcase Dublin and Ireland to a huge audience of prospective holidaymakers across Britain and has the potential to deliver a major boost to Irish tourism".

Sunday Independent

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