Biden Making a Sentimental Journey to Ireland; White House Hasn't Said Which Relatives Are Going With Him

( – With all that’s going on in this chaotic world, President Joe Biden is taking time to visit Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom, and then the Republic of Ireland. The trip, which mixes business with pleasure, begins today.

As of Monday, the White House could not or would not say which members of his family will accompany the elderly president on a sentimental visit to his ancestral home.

“As I think you all also know, he’s very excited for this trip and has been now for quite some time,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters at the White House on Monday.

Among the items on Biden’s schedule are meetings with two prime ministers, speeches at universities, and a ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of the Belfast Good Friday agreement.

Then there’s the personal part of the trip in the Republic of Ireland, as Kirby described it:


“He will visit County Louth, where his great grandfather, James Finnegan, was born, and the Finnegan family lived before they crossed the sea to begin a new life in America. And he’ll tour Carlingford Castle. On Wednesday night, the president will spend the night in Dublin. On Thursday, he will meet with President Higgins of Ireland and participate in a tree planting ceremony and ringing of the peace bell.

“Following that ceremony, he will meet again with the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, whom the president just hosted here for Saint Patrick’s Day, as I think you all remember. In both meetings, the president will discuss our close cooperation on the full range of shared, global challenges. He will then address a joint session of Irish Parliament about US-Irish cooperation to advance democracy, peace, security, and prosperity, as well as the shared and deep history between the United States and Ireland.

“Today, one in 10 Americans claim Irish ancestry and Irish Americans are proudly represented in every facet of American life. Ireland is a key economic partner of the United States, and the United States and Ireland are working closely together to make the global economy more fair. Ireland has been a key partner for 21st century challenges, as well.

“And the Irish government has been strong supporters of Ukraine providing vital, nonlethal assistance, including medical supplies, body armor, and support for Ukraine’s electric grid, as well as their agriculture. They have supported EU sanctions on Russia, and the people of Ireland have generously welcomed nearly 80,000 Ukrainians, offering refuge to those who were forced to flee their homes in search of safety.

“On Thursday night, President Biden will attend a banquet dinner at Dublin Castle. And on Friday, the president will travel to County Mayo, where he will tour the sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock and visit the North Mayo Heritage and Genealogical Center’s Family History Research Unit.

“He will then deliver remarks at Saint Murdock’s Cathedral, which his great, great grandfather — great, great, great grandfather, sorry — Edward Blewitt, sold 27,000 bricks to in 1827. Those bricks were used to construct and support the great cathedral, and helped Edward afford to buy tickets for himself and for his family to sail to America, decades later, in 1851.

“President is very much looking forward to that trip again, and to celebrating the deep, historic ties that our two countries and our two people continue to share.”

A reporter asked if First Lady Jill Biden will accompany her husband to Ireland.

“You know, I don’t — I don’t have the actual traveling party here complete for you,” Kirby said.

And if reporters were hoping for a rare chance to ask Biden questions at a formal press conference — they can forget about it.


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