The Office of the Vice President has released the six-day schedule of Vice President Joe Biden as he begins his Irish trip today.
Taking in sites in counties Dublin, Meath, Louth and Mayo, the Vice President will visit his ancestral home as well as delivering remarks on the Irish-American experience in Dublin Castle and holding bilateral meetings with both Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny and Irish President Michael D. Higgins.
Set to arrive in Dublin today at 2.20pm EDT (7.20pm local time), Biden will first meet with Taoiseach Kenny in government buildings, remaining in Dublin overnight.
On Wednesday morning the Vice President will meet with President Higgins in his residence in Phoenix Park, where heavy security will keep the park off limits to the public in a “round-the-clock” surveillance operation. The park will be closed every night from 11pm until 6.30am with further traffic and parking restrictions put in place throughout the day.
Through Wednesday afternoon, he will travel to Mayo with the Taoiseach, who also comes from the county, stopping at “points of significance” to the Vice President and the Taoiseach en route.
Remaining in Mayo for the night, Biden will play a round of golf with the Taoiseach on Thursday morning before returning to Dublin.
On Friday, the Vice President will deliver remarks at Trinity College at 6am EDT (11am local time), continuing on to tour Trinity College Library where the Book of Kells is displayed.
That evening will see Vice President Biden address the Irish-American experience from Dublin Castle. It is believed he will speak on the shared heritage of the two nations, and the values of tolerance, diversity and inclusiveness. He will then attend the American Ireland Fund 40th Anniversary Gala.
Remaining in Dublin for the night, VP Biden will visit one of Ireland’s most renowned and oldest sites on Saturday, touring Newgrange before making the trip to the second of his ancestral homes in Co. Louth. Here he will tour will tour the Killwirra Church and Cemetery before once again returning to Dublin.
On the sixth and final day of Biden’s visit, he will attend a lunch in Farmleigh House hosted by the Taoiseach and make his final remarks before returning to Washington D.C.
This is the first time for Vice President Joe Biden to make a personal trip with his family to Ireland, a trip he had planned to make with his son Beau before his untimely death in 2015, aged 48.
Growing up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, a town with a large Irish-American population, the VP has often spoken of his Irish roots and the way in which his Irish heritage has shaped him. He was inducted to the Irish America Hall of Fame in 2014.
Genealogists have discovered that Biden is five-eighths Irish, with an especially strong connection on his mother’s side of the family.
On the paternal side, Biden’s great-great grandfather emigrated from Knockmore, Co Mayo in the 19th Century at just 18 years of age, while on the maternal side, his mother Catherine ‘Jean’ Biden (nee Finnegan) and the Finnegan connection were traced back to Biden’s great-great grandfather who emigrated from the Cooley peninsula in Louth in 1850.
While his mother’s entire family tree traces to Ireland with ancestors named Arthurs, Blewitt, Boyle, Roche, Scanlon and Stanton accompanying her Finnegan kin, just one-eighth comes from Biden’s father’s side, which contributed the Hanafee name.
Before he embarked on his trip, Biden spoke to RTÉ and the Irish Times about his links to Ireland, also criticizing Trump and his anti-immigrant rhetoric. Trump had previously alluded to visiting Ireland at the same time as the VP. Although it did not come to fruition, the presumptive Republican nominee will visit two of his golf courses in Scotland this week.
"It means a great deal to me to visit the island. It’s the land from which my ancestors emigrated, seeking a better future – and now their great-great-great-grandson is vice-president of the United States of America,” Biden told the Irish Times and RTÉ.
"My grandfather and grandmother Finnegan, all my mother's brothers, and my father told us about the courage and commitment it took for our relatives to emigrate from Ireland — in the midst of tragedy to distant shores, where they didn't know what awaited them. It took great courage.
"I feel incredibly privileged to be able to share that heritage and this experience with my brother, my sister, my children, and all my grandkids.”