Biden Irish Tour moves to Dublin for Parliamentary Address, Castle Banquet
DUBLIN (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden, a proud Irish-American, made his three-day tour of Ireland to Dublin on Thursday for a speech before Parliament and a banquet at Dublin Castle as his focus shifted from peace in Northern Ireland’s heritage shifted to celebrating its peace.
“It feels wonderful. It feels like coming home,” Biden told reporters Wednesday afternoon while touring Carlingford Castle, near the home of one of his family’s Irish branches.
Biden will be the guest of honor at a banquet at St Patrick’s Hall in Dublin Castle on Thursday night, an honor previously bestowed on Queen Elizabeth II and US President John F Kennedy.
In the afternoon he will hold meetings with the Irish President and Prime Minister and will become the fourth US President, after Kennedy in 1963, Ronald Reagan in 1984 and Bill Clinton in 1995, to address a joint session of the Irish Parliament.
Biden spent Wednesday morning in Belfast holding brief talks with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and urging Northern Ireland’s political leaders to restore their power-sharing government with promises of significant US investment.
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He later enjoyed a more carefree trip to the hometown of great-great-grandfather Owen Finnegan, a shoemaker who emigrated to the United States in 1849, at Louth, halfway between Dublin and Belfast.
Biden complimented the rain-soaked residents of the city of Dundalk by telling them their city was beautiful. “I don’t know why the hell my ancestors left here,” he joked.
On Friday, he will meet relatives from another side of his family, that of great-great-great-grandfather Edward Blewitt, in western County Mayo, where he will also make a public address to conclude his tour.
Biden will be joined on some of his Dublin engagements by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is visiting Ireland before traveling to Vietnam and Japan.
(Writing by Conor Humphries; Additional reporting by Steve Holland and Padraic Halpin; Editing by Nick Macfie)
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