Excitement is building across Galway as the city prepares to receive the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge later this morning.
Prince William and Kate who will visit the city centre and a local GAA club on third day of their State visit which has encompassed Dublin, Meath, and Kildare, will be greeted by Mayor of the city Mike Cubbard on their arrival to Galway.
The royal couple's stopover is the first time Galway has welcomed members of the British royal family since May 2015 when Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall visited the city. On that occasion, the royal agenda was limited to NUI Galway and the Marine Institute.
President of Galway Chamber Dave Hickey believes the visit will provide a positive boost on the city's profile and tourism numbers. "[The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's] visit will have a very positive impact on the profile of Galway especially in the UK which is a challenging market for Ireland right now given the uncertainties posed by Brexit.
"The TV and other media coverage is very welcome and will showcase a lot of what Galway and Salthill has to offer not just as a tourism destination but also as a place in which to live, learn, and work. We know that previous visits from members of the British royal family have helped boost UK tourism numbers in Cork and Dublin, for example. Businesses expect that this royal visit will have a similar impact in Galway city and county."
A number of traffic restrictions have already been enforced from 4am this morning with no vehicles being permitted access to William Street, Shop Street, Abbeygate Street, High Street, and Mainguard Street until 1pm, with restrictions to pedestrian access at Shop Street, High Street, and Mainguard Street from 9am until 1pm.
Restrictions will also be placed on Flood Street, Cross Street, Middle Street, and St Augustine Street from 9am until lunchtime, with Dr Mannix Road seeing traffic restraints from 9am to 2pm.
Bridge Street and Lombard Street will also experience traffic controls, however, there are arrangements in place for school traffic. Members of the public wishing to access these areas during the aforementioned times will be subject to Garda screening.
A spokesperson for the Galway City Coucil urged members of the public to heed Garda advice in relation to the traffic restrictions.: “Members of the public should follow the advice of the gardai in relation to the traffic restrictions. There are very limited areas in the city that will be affected by these road closures and the gardai have made efforts to minimise disruption.
“No premises will have to close and the city centre remains open for business. Gardai have been very proactive with business owners so the restrictions [in terms of deliveries] will not be a surprise. The Galway City Council is also providing a range of support across its various departments to help facilitate the smooth running of the visit.”
The spokesperson also added that the visit provided Galway an enormous opportunity to showcase itself and Galway 2020’s plans to the world.