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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Diplomatic Mission

Pictures: Meghan and Harry have been hitting the tourist trail in Dublin

The main public events of the two-day visit are taking place today.

6989 Meghan Markel_90549280_90549286 Sam Boal Sam Boal

A CROWD OF around a thousand, some of whom queued from before 9am this morning, turned out at Trinity College this afternoon to greet the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Harry and Meghan to you and me) as they continued their Irish visit.

The Trinity event was one of two opportunities for members of the public to to try and meet the British royals during the whistle-stop Irish visit.

The couple worked the rope line for around 20 minutes just before lunchtime, after stopping in to see the Book of Kells and greet some invited guests.

There were spectators from around the globe lined out at Library Square. Not many of them had made the trip with the sole purpose of seeing the royals, however – many of the crowd were tourists who decided to stop by at short notice.

A large number of Trinity staff also turned out to catch a glimpse – office workers said they had taken long lunch breaks and some cleaning staff lingered back after their shifts to sample the spectacle and the media scrum.

The two day visit of recently married royals is taking place “at the request” of the UK government and is, of course, taking place against a backdrop of uncertainty and concern over Brexit.

Their ‘soft diplomacy’ mission began yesterday with a visit to Government Buildings and a reception at the British ambassador’s residence attended by the likes of Ruby Walsh, Brian O’Driscoll and assorted politicians and celebrities.

They started today with a visit to the Áras – just a short trip down the main drag of the Phoenix Park from their accommodation at Farmleigh.

There they posed for photographs before signing the official visitor book.

A ‘no questions’ rule was notionally in place for the media, but Newstalk’s Henry McKean managed to shout over a question about the World Cup – asking Harry if he reckoned football would be coming home.

“Most definitely,” the royal replied.

0353 Prince Harry_90549304 Leah Farrell After a visit to the Áras, the couple stopped by Croke Park this morning. Leah Farrell

They also visited Croke Park, where they watched GAA demonstrations and had a chance to talk to players.

At the GAA Museum they were shown several artefacts by the museum’s director, Niamh McCoy, including the Geraldine’s Club minute book from 1909 to 1915, which was kept by the club’s secretary, Michael Collins.

They were also shown a ticket stub from the Bloody Sunday match of 1920, where 14 civilians were killed by British forces.

Tourism boost

There’s a large media contingent following the couple around – with crews from as far afield as Australia documenting the visit.

NO FEE DFA TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN THE ROYAL VISIT JB11 Around 1,000 spectators turned out at Library Square in Trinity.

Fáilte Ireland says the visit will be a boon to the tourist trade, with CEO Paul Kelly describing it as an amazing opportunity to highlight “our rich and diverse tourism industry and excellent visitor experiences to an international audience”.

“In particular, the coverage from this royal visit will provide a boost to the UK market which has been a challenge in light of Brexit. As the national development authority, Fáilte Ireland will continue to work with tourism businesses throughout the country to ensure that they can fully capitalise on the afterglow of the visit.”

The tourism body has been crunching the numbers of past visits of international VIPs.

In 2011, the visits of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and US President Barack Obama generated at least €298 million worth of publicity through some 37,795 separate print and broadcast pieces, and resulted in an uplift in visitor numbers that year, Fáilte Ireland says.

The couple will visit the Famine memorial and EPIC, the Irish Emigration Museum, on Dublin’s Custom House Quay later this afternoon. They’ll be on a plane home this evening.

Right now, they’re at a private lunch at a pub on Camden Street. The street is closed to traffic.

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