Dublin: US President Joe Biden started his four-day visit to Ireland from Belfast.
The first stop on Biden’s travel plan was Ulster University. Biden’s travels began with a conference at Ulster University as part of the Good Friday Agreement’s Silver Jubilee celebrations. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunik and other dignitaries were waiting to receive the president, who arrived at Belfast International Airport.
Entering County Louth today, Biden will spend time mainly in the villages where his ancestors lived, evoking memories.
James Finnegan, his grandfather, was born in County Louth before emigrating to the United States. Edward Blewitt, his other grandfather, was involved in the construction of St. Muredach’s Cathedral in Ballina, County Mayo. So Biden has a strong emotional attachment to Ireland.
“President Biden is very eager to celebrate the historic relationship that the peoples of both countries enjoy,” said John Kirby, coordinator of the US National Security Council.
Today in Louth.
Today, Biden will visit Carlingford Castle, the Norman citadel in County Louth where his grandfather was born.
Built in 1190, this fort is steeped in legend. As a child, Biden had often heard stories about this castle in his ancestral village. It is also known as King John’s Castle because it was captured by King John of England in 1210—the same King John as the legendary hero Robin Hood.
Now in ruins, the Carlingford Louth Heritage Trust runs guided tours around the castle between March and October.
Tomorrow in Dublin.
On Thursday, Biden will join Irish President Michael D. Higgins in a tree-planting ceremony and the ringing of peace bells at Arras a Uchtharain (President’s House), the Irish president’s official residence.
Built in 1751, Aras an Uachtaráin has hosted distinguished visitors, including Nelson Mandela, Pope John Paul II, and President Barack Obama.
Arras a Uchtharain is located inside Phoenix Park, a popular tourist destination. The President’s House is set amidst 130 acres of parkland and greenery, which is a particular highlight.
On Thursday night, a special dinner has been planned for Biden at Dublin Castle in Dublin city.
For centuries, Dublin Castle has played an important role in the city’s history. It was built as a mediaeval castle for King John of England in the early 1200s and served as the seat of the English who ruled Ireland until 1922.
It was the home of the British King’s Irish representative, known as the Viceroy of Ireland.
Visit to Knock Basilica.
County Mayo is the last stop on the US President’s tour of Ireland.
He will go to Knock Shrine, also known as the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock, a holy pilgrimage site where the Holy Mother of God appeared in 1879.
Knock is a favourite shrine of the Biden family, with millions of visitors each year.
Biden will also visit the North Mayo Heritage and Genealogical Centre’s family history research unit, which is dedicated to “preserving and promoting the region’s rich heritage.”
Finally, Biden will speak at St. Muredach’s Cathedral in Ballina; his grandfather, Edward Blewitt, lived in the area. He was also a merchant who supplied bricks for the church’s construction while St. Muredach’s Cathedral was being built. The cathedral is located in Ballina, on the banks of the River Moy.
Irish people celebrate Biden’s visit more than Biden himself. America is so dear to them. The reason for this is that at least one family from each Irish house has immigrated to America. Irish people consider America to be the country of their relatives. Even former American presidents, including Kennedy and Obama, have Irish roots.
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