Meghan Markle treats herself to a glass of Guinness during Dublin lunch
Camden Street came to a standstill today as hundreds of people gathered outside a local restaurant where Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had their lunch.
With mobile phone cameras at the ready to capture the historic visit of the royal couple, they waited patiently outside Café Delahunt for over an hour as soon as word got out that the newlyweds would be dining inside.
For some, the lunch-hour wait was excruciating as a large contingent of gardai and security personnel swarmed outside as a garda helicopter buzzed overhead.
“It didn’t take me that long to come out of the closet,” a young man joked as he waited to get a glimpse of the couple.
Even pigeons seemed to get in on the act, excitedly swooping from adjoining rooftops as the couple emerged around 2:15pm to enthusiastic cheers from the crowd.
But it was all over in a matter of seconds as the prince and his bride waved briefly to the crowd before driving off in a blue Range Rover parked outside.
Ranelagh native Julian Vignoles, (65), was on his way home from his tour business 'See Dublin By Bike', when he noticed the road closed off and saw the mass of people and gardai huddled outside.
“I’m guilty of royal watching,” he said after capturing the couple on his mobile phone.
“But it was worth the wait,” he said.
Michael Connolly, (52), from Rathfarnham, said it didn’t take long for people to cop on to what was happening.
“I was just passing by and I guessed that with the roads closed off it was Harry and Meghan.”
“I wouldn’t be a great royalist, but people seem enthused by it,” he said.
“It’s good for the relationship between Ireland and England.”
Inside the Victorian-styled restaurant, which featured in a passage from James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ in its previous incarnation as a grocery store, the couple shared an intimate table in the glass-paneled snug.
They both had smoked salmon as a starter, followed by roast hake for Meghan and roast lamb for Harry, while Meghan indulged in a glass of Guinness, according to restaurateur Darren Free.
“It was great, it was a privilege,” he said of serving the royal couple. “They were lovely. They asked about the building and the food.”
But with just over an hour to eat during their hectic two-day visit, he said Prince Harry seemed anxious to get back to the UK in time for tonight's World Cup final showdown between England and Croatia at 7pm Irish time.
“It was supposed to be a quick drop-in,” he said. “Harry’s priority was to get back for the match,” he said.
The visit had been arranged months before through the British ambassador to Ireland, he said.
The restaurant, under the stewardship of head chef Dermot Staunton, was chosen for it “modern Irish environment” with a nod to the past, he said.
Though Meghan Markle indulged in a glass of the black stuff her grandmother-in-law famously refused to a sip when it was offered to her during a tour of the Guinness Storehouse in 2011.