US President Joe Biden has begun his three-day visit to the Republic of Ireland with a meeting with the country’s leader, Leo Varadkar. After a short stay in Belfast to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, Biden arrived at Dublin Airport on Air Force One and was greeted by the Taoiseach. He then travelled to the Cooley Peninsula and the village of Carlingford in County Louth, where he was welcomed by cheering crowds.
Earlier, Biden had paid a brief but significant visit to Belfast, where he called for the restoration of the power-sharing government at Stormont, which has been suspended for over a year. In a speech at Ulster University, he praised the “tremendous progress” since the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998. He noted that peace had transformed the region, making it “technicolour” and “whole”.
The US President has frequently spoken of his Irish heritage and had promised to visit during his presidency. A genealogist who researched Biden’s lineage estimated that he is “roughly five-eighths” Irish. His ancestors left Ireland during the devastating potato famine of the 1840s and 1850s, settling in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
On his tour of Carlingford Castle, Biden was asked about his feelings on the visit and replied that it felt like “coming home”. He also visited a local cafe and met with staff, before heading to Dundalk, where he greeted thousands of people along Clanbrassil Street. In the coming days, he is expected to speak to politicians at the Oireachtas and meet more relatives in Ballina.
Joe Biden’s visit to Ireland marks an important milestone in the country’s history. It is a reminder of the progress made since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement 25 years ago, and a celebration of the strong ties between Ireland and the United States.