Republic of Ireland news

Harry and Meghan wow young and old during visit to Dublin

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with President Michael D Higgins his wife Sabina and their dogs Brod and Sioda at Áras an UachtarAin on the second day of their visit to Dublin Picture by Julien Behal/PA

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex wowed young and old at some of Dublin's most famous landmarks on a whistle-stop tour of the capital.

On a day full of warm encounters with well-wishers, three-year-old Gaelic sports fan Walter Cullen played with Meghan's hair during a visit to Croke Park while another young supporter tugged Harry's beard.

Those playful exchanges at the famous stadium came ahead of a 25-minute walkabout in the grounds of Trinity College, where the royals chatted and laughed with enthusiastic crowds.

During the meet and greet on the university's cobbled square, Meghan told one fan that Dublin was her favourite city.

Harry followed in the footsteps of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, by making the symbolic visit to Croke Park.

The stadium witnessed one of the most infamous incidents during the War of Independence when British soldiers opened fire on a crowd of spectators in 1920, killing 14 people.

Dozens of children played football and hurling as the couple watched.

They walked hand-in-hand around the sprawling pitch as GAA representatives talked the couple through the rules of Gaelic games.

They spoke to young children about their involvement in sport and what it meant to them playing at Croke Park.

Earlier, Harry's mind was on another sport when he gave England a boost ahead of their crucial World Cup match, declaring football was coming home as he met President Michael D Higgins

The duke was asked by a reporter if "football was coming home" – the chant from the hugely popular Three Lions anthem.

As Harry and Meghan posed for a picture with Mr Higgins and his wife Sabina, the duke replied laughing "most definitely".

The duke and duchess met the president and his wife at Áras an Uachtaráin, the former British Viceregal lodge in Dublin's Phoenix Park.

They rang a Peace Bell installed in the garden of the grand 18th century house in 2008 to mark the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement and toured the grounds with the presidential couple and their two Bernese mountain dogs, Brod and Sioda.

Meghan, who along with Harry signed the visitors' book at the Áras, wore a Roland Mouret dress for the presidential visit. She later changed into a black trouser suit.

Prior to embarking on the walkabout at Trinity, the couple were shown the historic Book of Kells.

The couple later stopped for a private lunch before continuing on the packed final day of their pre-Brexit charm offensive in the Republic, which comes less than a month after Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall visited the south.

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