Louth town 'buzzing' ahead of presidential visit, says Biden relative

Louth Town 'Buzzing' Ahead Of Presidential Visit, Says Biden Relative Louth Town 'Buzzing' Ahead Of Presidential Visit, Says Biden Relative
Fifth cousins of President-elect Joe Biden, Councillor Andrea McKevitt (left) and her sister Ciara, at their home on the Cooley Peninsula in Co. Louth with a specially baked cake to mark Mr. Biden's inauguration as the 46th President of the United States. President elect Biden has ancestral links to the area on the East coast of Ireland as well as in Ballina, Co Mayo, on the West coast.
Share this article
James Cox

The Cooley Peninsula in Co Louth is "buzzing" with excitement at the expected visit of Joe Biden in April, according to a distant relative of the US president.

Local Fianna Fáil Councillor Andrea McKevitt is a fifth cousin of the US president.

She told BreakingNews.ie: "There's a great buzz around the area. Everyone is excited, it would be a great lift for the Cooley Peninsula and for Louth to have Cousin Joe back home."

US security officials were recently in Ireland to begin preparations for Mr Biden's visit in April, according to the Irish Examiner.

Mr Biden has spoken of his desire to visit Ballina, Co Mayo, and Carlingford, Co Louth, where he has family ancestry.

He is also expected to visit Dublin and Belfast to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.


Ms McKevitt said her family has fond memories of meeting Mr Biden in Nelly Finnegans pub in Carlingford when he visited Ireland in 2016, when he was vice president.

Along with the Mayo roots, Mr Biden's ancestry can be traced to the Finnegan family from Carlingford.

Fifth cousins of Joe Biden, Councillor Andrea McKevitt (left) and her sister Ciara, outside their home on the Cooley Peninsula. Photo: PA

"It was when he assumed the office of vice president there was a lot of research done into his family links to Ireland. I think it was a researcher in Castlebellingham that got in touch with my uncle in relation to the connection.

"That was the first time we were aware of it, and when he visited my uncles met him in the pub. They have wonderful memories of it... my uncle Ed had great craic with Joe and you can see the photos of the two of them laughing.

"God knows what he was saying to him, but he said it was a great afternoon. Joe was a very down to earth man... his brother Jim Biden was with him, and he said to my uncle 'oh, we've got the Biden nose, but it's actually the Finnegan nose', and they were laughing about that."

She added: "Looking back at the photos you can see the delight and the happiness in people's faces. To have such an important figure visit the local pub... it was surreal."


Ms McKevitt said there was lots of excitement in the area when Mr Biden beat Donald Trump in the 2020 US presidential election, however, they couldn't mark the occasion due to Covid.

"Now we can celebrate everything at once; his return to the peninsula, his election as president, and I'm sure we'll have a good bash in Cooley."

Ms McKevitt said the family link to Mr Biden is even more special for her as she is now in politics. She has been a member of Louth County Council since 2020.

She said she'd love to talk to the US president about the Good Friday Agreement if she gets the chance.

"I'm sure we'll have a conversation around the Good Friday Agreement and America's strong backing of it, his visit is going to be really important for that after the announcement of the Windsor Framework. He's been a great friend to our country."

Ms McKevitt hopes the expected presidential visit will also be a positive for tourism in the Cooley Peninsula.

"I think we need to hone in on that in the Cooley Peninsula, that the president's ancestors left from the area. There's been talk of the new Narrow Water Bridge being called the Biden bridge and all sorts of different things, but some sort of monument would really cement his links to the area forever.


"We have to be loud and proud about our US links. The strong connection between Biden and the Finnegan family... it's important that it is highlighted and that Louth is on the map here. It's great that the president is coming to the county to strengthen these links."

Joe Biden often speaks about his Irish ancestry

Mr Biden often speaks of his fondness for Ireland, and Ms McKevitt said this was evident on his previous visit to Louth. "When Joe arrived in Cooley I think he felt a sense of home, he felt content here."

White House officials visit Belfast ahead of poten...
Read More

In a previous interview with BreakingNews.ie, Paul Allen, whose PR firm was involved in Mr Biden's 2016 visit, said: "One of the best moments was when one of the Secret Service agents said to me, 'where the hell are we?', as we got out of the car in this kind of narrow, boreen place.

"Behind me Biden shouts, 'we're in heaven, man!' He was blown away by the place. Anyone who visits Carlingford can't help but be taken with the natural beauty of the place."

Ms McKevitt said Mr Biden spent a lot of time mingling with locals on his previous visit, and despite the fact he will be pressed for time this time she expects more of the same.

"I know he'll be under time pressure, but I think he'll want to spend as much time as possible engaging with people, taking photos, a personal touch. Because when we look back at his last visit he was so interested in talking and engaging with normal people."

Read More

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© BreakingNews.ie 2023, developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com