Thursday 27 July 2017

Golf and apple tart as Biden bids farewell to Mayo

US Vice President Joe Biden and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Castlebar Golf Club, Co Mayo, on the third day of his visit. Photo: Maxwells
US Vice President Joe Biden and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Castlebar Golf Club, Co Mayo, on the third day of his visit. Photo: Maxwells
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

A round of golf and some extra helpings of apple tart put the finishing touches to US Vice President Joe Biden's visit to his ancestral home of Mayo yesterday.

Mr Biden took up a long-standing invitation for a round of golf with the Taoiseach and while the Vice President revealed the game wasn't all going in his favour, the sides diplomatically announced they had halved the match by the 18th hole.

The two men were joined by Mr Biden's brother Jim and club captain Frank Murray for a four-ball at the Castlebar Golf Course.

But despite boasting a single-digit handicap, things were certainly not going the way of the Vice President on the 16th hole when he almost hit the water.

"You didn't tell me about the water hazard," he quipped as he walked up to retrieve his ball. Asked how the golf was going, he hinted that the rest of the course may also have thrown up some challenges, joking that at least his career was faring better. "It's going. Fortunately, politics is going better," he said.

As the Vice President nipped around the course in a golf buggy alongside Enda, the pair passed by the Taoiseach's home which is right across the road from the 13th hole.

"We half expected them to take a spin across in the buggy for a cup of tea," said one local.

While the American guests were more demurely dressed in navy and cream, the Taoiseach, in relaxed mood and playing well, was decked out in a salmon pink polo shirt with cream chinos.

After playing 18 holes at the golf course, Mr Biden marked the occasion by planting a native Mountain Ash tree on the grounds of the club before mingling with members in the club house over tea and apple tart.

The apple tart, made by local woman Pauline Donahue, proved a huge hit with the Vice President who went back for second helpings.

The relaxing day followed a busy whistlestop tour of Mayo on Wednesday, where Mr Biden met with relatives and greeted hundreds of well-wishers in Ballina, Castlebar and Westport.

He had finished off his first day in Mayo with a musical session in Matt Molloy's pub in Westport, where news of the spectacular Ireland win in Lille saw Mr Biden and Mr Kenny lead the pub in a rendition of 'Olé, olé, olé'.

After making time for the countless locals who wanted to wish him well, the Vice President didn't manage to make his scheduled dinner at An Port Mór restaurant in Westport - but that didn't stop him nipping across to the popular eatery to enjoy a late night bowl of ice cream in the alleyway on Wednesday.

After the golf game yesterday, it was back to Dublin for the Vice President where he has a number of engagements in the coming days, including a trip to Trinity College and Dublin Castle.

Irish Independent

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