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The White House will turn green for Biden’s inauguration


Joe Biden. Photo: Tom Brenner/Reuters

Joe Biden. Photo: Tom Brenner/Reuters

Joe Biden. Photo: Tom Brenner/Reuters

The eyes of the world will turn towards the White House at 4.30pm today as the inauguration ceremony starts for Joe Biden to officially become the 46th President of the United States.

While for those 80m people who voted for Biden, it will be a joyous day of celebration, euphoria and fresh hope for the future of the beleaguered country, many in Ireland will also be raising a quiet glass to the new President while watching events unfold.

Much has been made of the ‘greening’ of the White House when it comes to key figures in his administration with a strong Irish-American coterie of colleagues including Walsh, McDonough, O’Malley-Dillon, Sullivan, Power, McCarthy and Donilon.

But not since JFK have we had an American President with such strong, genuine connections to this country.

In fact, we even have a tussle between Mayo and Louth as to which county can boast of the strongest familial ties to the incumbent President.

His maternal ancestors migrated from Mayo in the 1880s while his great-great-grandfather Owen Finnegan emigrated from the Cooley Peninsula in Co Louth during the Famine.

Whether it was quoting James Joyce in his farewell speech in his home state of Delaware this week or proudly telling a BBC reporter that he was Irish, Biden has nailed his green colours to the mast from the outset.

His Irish links will be strongly reflected in today’s inauguration at the Capitol, with a performance by one of our most acclaimed musicians to the opening prayer being done by Washington-based Jesuit Fr Leo O’Donovan.

Starting off the private mass will be concert violinist Patricia Treacy who will be playing for president-elect Joe Biden and his family before his inauguration.

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The Louth musician was directly invited by the Biden family to take part in today’s historical event and will perform The Proclamation composed by Patrick Cassidy.

Playing a 315-year-old Stradivarius violin which is estimated to be worth $4m, she said she felt “both honoured and privileged and obviously super excited.”

During the mass, she will also join Soprano Renée Fleming for On Eagle’s Wings Schubert’s Ave Maria and the Celtic Alleluia.

But this is not the first time she has performed for Biden; she also entertained him with a musical medly during his 2016 visit to Louth.

However, one Irish band who missed out on their chance to perform today were The Chieftains, with band member Paddy Moloney saying that due to travel restrictions, they couldn’t travel over.

Biden stated back in 2012 that the trad music group were his favourite band and his dream would be to sing ‘Shenandoah’ with them. They also performed previously for Biden when he visited a bar owned by band member Matt Molloy at Westport, Co Mayo four years ago.

Well known for his love of Irish literature and culture, Biden even quoted Heaney in his Presidential campaign as he makes the most of his Irish-American roots.

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