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Ireland celebrates Cousin Joe’s inauguration; Relatives celebrated in Ballina and the Cooley Peninsula

DUBLIN: Ireland also celebrates the inauguration of Joe Biden as the new President of the United States. The celebration of the exaltation of Joe Biden, an ‘old Irishman’, was celebrated in the homes of Irish ancestors. They celebrated the occasion with cake and champagne in an atmosphere where Irish and American flags were flown. Homes in both counties were full of stars and decorations. All the close relatives enjoyed the swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol.

Biden has roots in Ballina, Co Mayo, and the Cooley Peninsula in Co Louth. He often recalls all these relationships. This makes the celebration even more exciting. People see Biden as one of the most closely associated Irish American president among American rulers so far.

Biden’s great great-grandfather, James Finnegan, immigrated to the United States from the Cooley Peninsula on the east coast of Ireland. Biden’s fifth cousin Andrea McKevitt inaugurated the event here. She watched on with her family over Zoom as “cousin Joe” was sworn in. The family enjoyed the moment with champagne, cheeseburgers and fries.

“Joe has an affinity to Ireland, he will be a great friend to Ireland. Many Irish people left these shores in search of the American dream, and Joe is a prophet of an American dream and he shows what hard work and determination can do. His dedication to the Good Friday Agreement was comforting for us in Ireland,” she said.

John Finnegan, from Cardingford, is Biden’s fourth cousin. He described the moment as an emotional day. When he visited Louth in 2017, Finnegan welcomed Biden.

In the nearby town of Dundalk, Fianna Fáil councillor Emma Coffey hoisted an American flag outside the council building. A water feature was also lit up in the American colours.

In Ballina, on the other side of the island, locals flocked to take selfies under Biden’s mural in the town center.

Biden’s grandfather, Patrick Blewitt, was born in Ballina. He left Ballina in 1850 and travelled to America.

Posters featuring Biden’s ‘Irish touch’ were displayed in shops and on the streets.

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