SPECULATION IS mounting that United States Vice President Joe Biden may visit the Cooley peninsula next year – and some people are even wondering if he might bring President Obama with him.
The American website politico. reports that Joe Biden said that when he told President Obama on election night that that he wants to take a trip to Ireland, the President said he'd like to join him.
The website quotes the Vice President as saying 'I turned to him I said, "Barack, now that this election's over, I'm going to Ireland." You know what he said to me? He said, "Would you take me with you? I want to play golf." I said I'm not so sure. But I'm going. I'm going to see where my mother is from and my mother's father and my mother's mother.'
'We are going to move heaven and earth to get Vice President Biden here,' said Kevin Woods of Carlingford and Mourne Tourism Ltd and who is a member of the Co. Louth Gathering Steering committee. He also confirmed that they had been in touch with Minister Michael Ring Junior, Minister for Tourism, to see how the visit could form part of the Gathering 2013.
' We in Carlingford and Mourne are sending a request to the Taoiseach asking him (the Taoiseach) to stay in Ireland for St. Patrick's Day this year, and to invite President Obama here for the Gathering where he would present him with the tradional bowl of shamrock – a small break with tradition.'
Genealogist Megan Smolenyak has traced Biden's Finnegan roots to Co. Louth and noted that both his and President Obama's 'shoemaking, Irish ancestors arrived in New York in May and April 1849, respectively, with their families making the voyage the following year.'
Smolenyak has stated that Joe Biden should visit Co. Louth if he wants to see where his grandfather came from.
She explained that when she turned her attention to the Finnegan family, she 'uncovered their arrival details, which naturally led to the question of where in Ireland they had come from. The ships they came on all left from Newry, so that provided a clue. Working with Griffith's Valuation pointed to the counties of Armagh, Louth, Cavan, Monaghan and Meath – a useful narrowing, but still a lot of territory.
She said that ' After a lot of digging, I found James 'Finegan', baptised on December 18, 1840 in Lordship Parish in County Louth with parents named Owen Finegan and 'Jean Bail' (likely a distortion of Boyle due to factors such as poor penmanship or transcription errors, as Griffith's Valuation shows no Bail families). Owen 'Finigan' and Jane Boyle had married on December 8, 1839 in Cooley Parish in County Louth.'
President Biden's comments were also picked up by U2 frontman Bono who plans to invite the Vice President to visit his Dalkey local.
'He's a Finnegan. His mother was a Finnegan, which is the name of my local pub, so I have to introduce him to my local publican,' the U2 singer said at The Hero Summit in Washington.