Duke of Cambridge shows off juggling skills in Galway on final day of royal tour

Rebecca Taylor
Royal Correspondent

The Duchess of Cambridge showed off her sporting skills as she picked up hurling, a traditional Irish game, and nearly took out nearby photographers.

Kate and William joined children at the Gaelic Athletic Association in Galway for their final engagement on their three-day trip around Ireland.

Never one to say no to having a go, they both had a shot at goal, only for Kate to send a ball flying toward a watching photographer.

The duchess cringed and covered her face with her hand as she saw the ball go by.

But she kept trying, and was soon cheering in celebration instead as she scored.

The Duchess of Cambridge tried her hand at Hurling as part of her visit to Salthill Knocknacarra GAA Club in Galway. (Press Association)
One of her early attempts didn't quite go to plan. (Getty Images)
The duchess pulled a face as she saw where the ball was heading. (Getty Images)
But it wasn't long before she was celebrating a goal. (Press Association)

It came after the Duke of Cambridge showed off his juggling skills as the royals met the Galway Community Circus, who are preparing for events to mark their European City of Culture status this year.

The royals were late to their first engagement, because of fog in Dublin, but the crowds who gathered to see them were not put off.

The Duke of Cambridge expertly juggled three balls. (Press Association)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet performers in Galway. (Press Association)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge juggle during the showcase. (Press Association)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were impressed by the performers. (Press Association)

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The duchess wore a green polka dot dress by Suzannah and black boots for the day’s first two engagements.

The duke and duchess attended a special event showcasing acts like the Galway Community Circus and basketball project Hoops.

The city will host about 1,900 events across 150 projects in 2020 while it’s the city of culture.

The prince was given three balls to juggle with as they joined the Galway Community Circus at Tribeton restaurant.

While he handled three like a professional, he was less successful when given four balls, with two flying off away from him.

He joked to the photographers: “I’ll try this in front of a load of you and flashing cameras, ha, here goes.”

The couple seemed to enjoy the entertainment on offer. (Press Association)
The duchess leans in to talk to the duke at the restaurant. (Press Association)

The duchess revealed their eldest son, Prince George, is learning guitar, after the pair watched a performance by a local band.

She also said Princess Charlotte is “really into gymnastics”, adding: “She’s doing cartwheels, handstands, everything.”

She said: “I wish we could have brought George and Charlotte along, they would have loved it.”

Local Galwegians await the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. (Press Association)
Fans hold a flag with Kate and William's faces on it as they wait for them. (Press Association)

Outside, one of those waiting for the duke and duchess was Michelle Rogers, a royal fan, who said she met Princess Diana 37 times.

Rogers waited for Diana’s son and daughter-in-law with a framed photo of the late Princess of Wales, which she took at the Royal Albert Hall.

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Michelle Rogers, from Co Laois, holding a picture of the Princess of Wales. (Press Association)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet local Galwegians after a visit to a traditional Irish pub. (Press Association)
The duchess coos over a three-month-old baby in a pub in Galway. (Department of Foreign Affairs and the British Embassy)
People look out of a window as the Duchess of Cambridge meets local Galwegians. (Press Association)

After the showcase, they visited Tig Coili, a family-owned, traditional Irish pub in Galway city centre where they will meet locals who volunteer, promoting the city and its people.

Inside the pub, the royals were entertained by some Irish musicians, and Kate cooed over a three-month-old baby, Danann O’Flaherty.

The duke couldn’t resist talking football when he discovered Colm O’Flaherty, a son of the pub owner, was a fellow Aston Villa supporter.

But he offered a quick “sorry” to his wife.

Colm, 36, said: “He asked me if Villa were going to stay up, and I wasn’t sure how to answer. I’m not too confident. I don’t think he was too sure either. We live in hope, as they say.”

The couple were given a bottle of Midleton whiskey from Cork and two engraved tumblers by pub owner Colie O’Flaherty and his son Aonghus.

Noticing that the label described it as “very rare” – and tactfully overlooking the fact that the whiskey was spelt differently to his wife’s maiden name – the duke turned to the duchess and joked: “Very rare. One in a million.”

After a sit down in the pub, they went on a short walkabout outside, meeting members of the public who gathered for a glimpse of the royals.

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Duchess of Cambridge on a walkabout in Galway City Centre. (Getty Images)
The Duke of Cambridge on a walkabout in Galway. (Press Association)
The Duchess of Cambridge ran back to meet some people who called out her name. (Press Association)
The couple met some of the crowds as they left the pub. (Reuters)

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In the Galway streets, William heard Cillian Deeley, eight, shout out “Up Villa.”

William walked over and told him: “You’ve made my day. Can I have a hug?”

After the hug William, asked Cillian, from Sligo, if he supported any other team.

On being told Manchester United, he said: “Be careful.”

Kate was also spotted rushing back to a couple of young girls who she heard call her name, despite thinking she had run out of time.

They ended tour by visiting a local Gaelic Athletic Association club to learn about traditional Irish sports including hurling and Gaelic football.

Children gathered outside the Salthill Knocknacarra Club as they waited for the royals, where the scoreboard had been marked up with “William’s team” and “Catherine’s team”.

Children ask for no homework outside the club in Galway. (Press Association)
A special scoreboard lit up for the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. (Press Association)

Some of the children had a sign reading “Can we have no homework” as they prepared for a royal arrival.

Kate changed into a more appropriate outfit for the afternoon’s sporting activities, donning a red jumper and black trousers, with a pair of trainers.

The duke also dressed down, swapping his coat and tie for a quilted jacket and his trainers.

Kate waves as they arrive at the athletic association. (Press Association)
The couple changed into more sporting attire for the afternoon. (Press Association)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are taught about Irish sports. (Press Association)

William and Kate joined children and young people from the teams as they took part in matches.

Their competitive nature was evident as they took turns having a go at scoring a goal in hurling, with Kate coming close to hitting the members of the media stationed on the other side of the net.

After a few unsuccessful attempts, Kate scored and celebrated, before high-fiving two of the young players.

The Duchess of Cambridge playing Gaelic football at Salthill Knocknacarra GAA Club. (Press Association)
The Duke of Cambridge tries his hand at Hurling. (Getty Images)
The Duke of Cambridge tries out Gaelic football. (Press Association)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge pose for a group photograph. (Getty Images)

The duke and duchess will return to the UK after their tour and will join their family at the Commonwealth Day Service on 9 March.