Joe Biden has been hailed as an “unmistakable son of Ireland”, but the US president’s boasts of his Irish heritage have often been accompanied by “anti-British” insults.
The 80-year-old was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, yet traces his roots back to County Louth and County Mayo in the Republic of Ireland.
Biden will visit both on his tour of the country this week, which will follow his fast-track trip to Northern Ireland to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
His connections to Ireland mainly come from his mother’s side as his great-grandfather Edward Blewitt was raised in Ballina, Mayo.
Blewitt immigrated to Scranton after the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s.
One of the American President’s great-grandfathers, Owen Finnegan, was a Louth shoemaker who immigrated to America in 1849.
His family, including his great-grandfather James Finnegan, followed in 1850.
Joe Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania yet traces his roots back to County Louth and County Mayo in the Republic of Ireland.
The US president’s boasts of his Irish heritage have often been accompanied by “anti-British” insults.
The US President previously revealed how his English father, Joseph Biden, had the “saving grace” of also having Irish heritage.
Mr Biden said last year: “He had a saving grace, on his mother’s side, to have Hanafi from Galway.
This is the only thing that saved him. And you all think I’m joking. I’m not.’
This isn’t the first time Biden has hinted at a familial embarrassment about his father’s English heritage.
He has previously mentioned that his aunt said to him when he was young: “Your father is not a bad man. It’s only English.
Mr. Biden has also, in the past, spoken of his discomfort with Mr. Biden having an English surname and revealed that “my grandfather and my mother were never crazy about being English.”
Last year, it emerged that Biden once revealed that his mother, Jean, hated England so much that she chose to sleep on the floor instead of the bed the Queen once slept in.
British screenwriter Georgia Pritchett claimed the US president made the revelation when they met in the White House during his tenure as vice president.
In her autobiography, she wrote how Biden remembered his mother visiting the UK and spending a night at a hotel where, Jean was told, the Queen once stayed.
“She was so horrified that she slept on the floor all night, rather than risk sleeping on the bed on which the Queen slept,” Pritchett wrote.
During his long political career, the American president has made a series of risky jokes at times when he proudly displayed his Irish heritage.
In a 2012 meeting with then-Prime Minister David Cameron, when he was vice president, Biden jokingly offered a message to his grandfather, Ambros Finnegan, that ‘things changed’ while he was sitting with a British leader.
In 2015, Biden came under fire after he quipped while welcoming then-Irish Twistic Enda Kenny to his home: “Anyone wearing orange is not welcome.”
The Protestant Unionist community in Northern Ireland band themselves with the color in celebration of William of Orange’s victory over Catholic forces at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.
During an event at the White House last month to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Biden was described by current Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar as “an unequivocal son of Ireland.”
When he was president-elect after winning the US election in 2020, Biden turned down an opportunity to speak with a BBC correspondent, telling them: “BBC? I’m Irish.”
During a White House event last month celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, Biden was described by current Irish Taoist Leo Varadkar as “an unmistakable son of Ireland.”
He said: “Every American president is a little bit Irish on St. Patrick’s Day — but some are more Irish than others.
“I think it is fair to say that today we celebrate our National Day with a President who is unequivocally a son of Ireland.”
Biden used the event to quote a poem written by his great-grandfather, Edward Beloit.
The US president told his predecessor’s audience, “He has an engineering degree from Lafayette College and the heart of an Irish poet.
In 1919, in one of the more than 100 poems I found in When My Mother Died, In Her Treasures, he wrote about “Ireland.”
In one of the passages, he wrote the following: “From the most beautiful land, except for my land, the night sun, star, and moon, the castle of freedom, the land of my mother, Aroun.”