An all-American celebration in Co Louth for 'Cousin Joe'

Ciara and Andrea McKevitt take to a Harley-Davidson in celebration of Joe Biden’s inauguration

Elaine Keogh

The Stars and Stripes were flying across Co Louth yesterday to mark the inauguration of 'Cousin Joe' as the 46th president of the United States.

"It's really huge for our family, we are so proud and have a real sense of pride that one of our own, whose ancestors hail from the Wee County, is in the biggest office in the world," said Andrea McKevitt, who is believed to be a distant cousin.

It was an all-American affair "with cheeseburgers, hot dogs and French fries on the menu and Bruce Springsteen and Garth Brooks on in the background".


With parents Veronica and Martin, and sister Ciara, Andrea watched the inauguration from her home on the Cooley Peninsula in north Co Louth.

"There is a euphoria in the air. We will be Zooming to the rest of the clan and bursting with pride watching Cousin Joe being sworn into office," said Andrea, a member of Louth County Council.

"He will be a president for all US citizens, not just those who voted for him, and I believe this is a welcome change on the world stage.

"Joe has a strong affinity to Ireland and I think that was clear in his commitment to our country through the Brexit talks and his dedication to the Good Friday Agreement."

The question on everyone's lips is when will he be back in Cooley?

"There is no word on a visit just yet, but we're hopeful 2021 will see the return of Cousin Joe to the peninsula," Andrea added.

"There is no doubt that we will all be ready and waiting for him whenever he wishes to make a return visit."

Meanwhile, Mr Biden has an open invitation to visit his ancestral home near Carlingford.

The building is very close to Lily Finnegan's pub, which Mr Biden visited twice - in 2016 as vice president and then during a private visit in 2017 with his brother and other members of his family.

Mr Biden's great-great grandfather is understood to be Owen Finnegan, who was baptised in the Cooley parish in 1814 and emigrated to the United States in 1849.

The single-storey stone building is owned by Robbie Coan and his wife Aoife Curran.

Robbie said he and Aoife bought the house in 1994, and one of the previous owners was a Finnegan.


"We both are thrilled that Biden is now the new president of the USA," he said.

"We would be delighted to welcome Joe and his family back to Whitestown and show him around the remains of his ancestral home."

Robbie said they had no idea that either the old farmhouse and barn - which were on the land with their bungalow - had any connection to Mr Biden when they bought it.

Speaking about the prospect of a visit from Mr Biden, Robbie added: "We would absolutely welcome him back with open arms."