I have been following the adventures of Vice President Joe Biden as he visits Ireland this past week. Since the Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny is from Castlebar (known there as the Taoiseach), I was hoping Joe would visit the town where one branch of my family originated. I was not disappointed.
On Twitter, I was able to see what he was up to(#bideninireland), but thanks to my Castlebar friend, Ann, I had an inside view as she posted both her own photographs as well as those from friends and the local newspaper, The Connaught Telegraph. This was the newspaper where one of my ancestors, Michael Brennan, brother of inventor Louis Brennan, worked as a journalist prior to launching his career as a painter.
Mr. Biden appeared to receive a warm welcome wherever he went. I loved watching him mingle with a crowd on Linenhall Street in Castlebar, which provided me with a glimpse of the town I hope to visit in the not-to-distant future.
I watched Joe Biden hanging out with Mr. Kenny in Coady’s bar as a group sang to him, and viewed another video from a second bar as the gathering cheered on the Irish football team’s victory over Italy. It was reminiscent of the evening and afternoon I spent in Flannery’s bar in London with my new friends from Castlebar, including Joe’s buddy, Enda Kenny. (That was the best party of my life!) The singing and camaraderie I witnessed, which I thought only happened in movies, was genuine as the people. I knew at that moment why my mother has always been so proud of her Irish heritage.
A posting on Ann’s wall showed just how thoughtful the Irish are: “Window boxes @ Taoiseach’s office today. Note the name of the yellow Flowers!!!” (I wonder if he saw them?)
My youngest twenty-something daughter looks up to Joe Biden as her hero; her rock star. How wonderful that our Vice President is the person in the world she admires more than any other! (I could be wrong, but it is highly doubtful.)
I watched a video of Mr. Biden and Mr. Kenny playing golf at the Castlebar golf club. (Do you hear that, dear husband?) This means a trip to Ireland could mean golf for hubby and seeking a few more leaves on the family tree for me. Sounds like the perfect vacation!
The only disappointment with the Biden visit to Ireland is that I did not know about it soon enough to arrange for Joe to bring my Brennan Family Bible to Castlebar. I would definitely have entrusted him with this very special family heirloom. Oh well. Maybe next time he visits Castlebar, he will invite me (and my daughter) to accompany him!