On this day in 1984: US President Ronald Reagan addresses Dáil during state visit to Ireland
Irish History

On this day in 1984: US President Ronald Reagan addresses Dáil during state visit to Ireland

THERE are few US presidents with a legacy to match Ronald Reagan's.

The Hollywood actor - turned politician became the oldest person to be elected into the Oval Office, at the age of 69-years-old (a record since bested by Donald Trump and later Joe Biden).

He became a highly influential voice on modern conservatism, was at the forefront of America's victory in the Cold War and the eventually toppling of the Soviet Union, and even survived an assassination attempt.

His paternal, great-grandparents were Irish-Catholics from Co. Tipperary, and while other presidents, such as Kennedy and Biden for example, have stronger connections to the Emerald Isle, Reagan was a firm believer in the importance of heritage, and never forgot his own.

This will plainly evident during his state visit to Ireland in 1984, where he spoke in the Dáil, further the cementing the unbreakable bond between the two nations.

"When I stepped off Air Force One at Shannon [Airport] a few days ago, and saw Ireland, beautiful and green, and felt again the warmth of her people, something deep inside began to stir," he began.

"Who knows but that scientists will one day explain the complex genetic process by which generations seem to transfer, across time and even oceans, their fondest memories.

"Until they do, I will have to rely on President Lincoln's words about 'mystic chords of memory', and say to you that during the past few days, at every stop here in your country, those chords have been gently and movingly struck.

"So I hope you won't think it too bold of me to say that my feelings here this morning can best be summarised by the words 'home, home again'."

Reagan went on to reference how many Irish-Americans "tend to get carried away with our ancestral past", but insisted that he had the credentials to be true Irishman.

"I am the great grandson of a Tipperary man, I am president of a country with the closest possible ties to Ireland, and I was a friend of Barry Fitzgerald," he said.

He finished with a simple acknowledge that "the American people know how profoundly Ireland has affected our national heritage."

Ain't that the truth.