The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have attended a reception in the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, the final engagement on their first day visiting Ireland.

They were greeted by the British Ambassador Robin Barrett.

They also met a number of invited guests at the Gravity Bar on the seventh floor of the storehouse, including actors Liam Cunningham and Robert Sheehan.

The couple spoke to personalities from the television and film industry, and also chatted to members of the fire and rescue service, coast guard and ambulance service, as well as Garda Commissioner Drew Harris.

They met members from various fields of Irish sport, culture, design, social enterprise, environment, charity and uniformed services.

Guinness master brewer Padraig McLaughlin poured Kate and William pints of Guinness, which were then served up by Irish international rugby player Sene Naoupu.

Dublin-based chef Mark Moriarty created the menu for the evening while singer Loah performed a number of tracks.

Kate and William both sipped the drinks before William carried his pint to the stage to make some remarks, beginning with: "Ladies and gentlemen, a dhaoine uaisle".

"Ireland is a country that we have both heard so much about, so we are really excited to be here with you to see it first-hand ourselves.

"In coming to the Guinness Storehouse we are both retracing the footsteps of my grandmother, who was shown how to pour the perfect pint here in 2011.

"Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you it is not often that I find myself following the Queen to the pub.

"But I am looking forward to testing for myself the theory that Guinness tastes even better in Ireland than overseas."

He added: "On a slightly more serious note I just wanted to thank all of you in the room for coming here this evening.

"Thank you for all that you do to support the very special relationship between our two countries.

"It has been a pleasure to meet so many of you this evening who demonstrate the breadth of our connections across the arts, sports, uniformed services, education and research, and charity sectors.

"We value it as we do your friendship and are committed to strengthening it further.

"We are very much looking forward to our next two days in Ireland, where I have no doubt we will continue to be impressed by the creativity, warmth and hospitality the Irish people have to offer."

The royal couple flew into Dublin Airport on a commercial Aer Lingus flight earlier this afternoon with dozens of residents returning home, business travellers and tourists.

The royals travelled to Áras an Uachtaráin, where they were greeted at the front door by Art O'Leary, the Secretary General to President Michael D Higgins.

They were then welcomed into the State Reception Room by the President's Aide-de-Camp.

President Higgins invited the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to sign the Distinguished Visitors' Book.

The royal couple also spent some time with Mr Higgins in the President's Study before the bilateral meeting in the Drawing Room.

During the meeting, Mr Higgins was joined by his wife Sabina, Mr O'Leary, the Irish Ambassador to the UK Adrian O'Neill and Claire Power, the president's adviser.

The royal couple were joined by the British Ambassador to Ireland Robin Barnett and Simon Case, the Duke of Cambridge's private secretary. 

After meeting President Higgins and Sabina, they visited the Peace Bell in the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin.

The bell was unveiled in 2008 to mark the tenth anniversary of the peace process.

Dating from the 19th century, it is suspended from oak trunks that came from Co Antrim and Co Dublin. 

This was the third time President Higgins has met the Duke of Cambridge.

Afterwards, the royal couple travelled to Dublin city centre to take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance.

The Duke's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, also laid a wreath at the garden when she visited Ireland in 2011.

The Duke and Duchess then travelled to Government Buildings, where they met Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett.

The couple signed the visitor's book at Government Buildings and attended a meeting with the Taoiseach.

It is understood that a fair amount of the discussion between was about Wales, where in Anglesea people speak Welsh on a daily basis.

They discussed how Ireland could learn from Wales about reviving the Irish language.

Also raised during this afternoon's meeting were relations between Ireland and Britain, North-South relations, mental health, online bullying, rugby and the couple's upcoming visit to Galway.


In pictures: William and Kate's visit to Ireland


The royal couple in the Taoiseach's office (Pic RollingNews.ie)

Prince William and Kate Middleton will also attend engagements in Meath, Kildare and Galway during their official visit. 

It is the first visit by members of the British royal family to Ireland since the UK left the European Union at the end of January.

A statement on behalf of the couple ahead of the visit said it will highlight the many strong links between the two countries and that they are looking forward to building a lasting friendship with the Irish people.

The statement added: "Following Her Majesty the Queen's historic visit in 2011, the visit will also focus on the relationship between the two countries, and build on the theme of remembrance and reconciliation."

The Duchess plays with the President's dog, Bród

It also said: "During the three-day tour, the duke and duchess will learn about local organisations working to support and empower young people and projects which provide opportunities to help them develop important life skills.

"Their Royal Highnesses will also hear more about Ireland's conservation initiatives and efforts to protect its environment, with a particular focus on sustainable farming and marine conservation.

"2020 will see Galway host the European Capital of Culture on behalf of Ireland, a showcase of events highlighting the richness and diversity of Irish culture, art and sport.

"During their time in Galway, the duke and duchess will have the opportunity to experience a taste of modern and traditional Irish culture for themselves."

Gardaí have advised members of the public that a series of temporary rolling road closures will be in place throughout the three-day visit.

Additional Reporting Helen Donohue, PA