Biden speaks of pride in heritage in letter to people of Mayo

Biden speaks of pride in heritage in letter to people of Mayo

US PRESIDENT Joe Biden has written a letter to the people of Mayo as part of Mayo Day 2022 which took place on Sunday.

The initiative aims to promote the county and maintain the connection between those who are from the area, with those who have ancestral roots there.

The president's great grandfather on his mother's side, Edward Blewitt, was from Ballina and the President has visited the area on a number of occasions.

He travelled to Mayo in 2016 when he was Vice President and returned in 2017 to turn the sod on a new hospice building outside Castlebar.

In the letter, Biden speaks about his pride in his heritage.

"The places we're from are the places that shape us, climb into our hearts, and never leave us," he said. "My great-grandfather Edward Francis Blewitt traced his roots in County Mayo, from where his family boarded a ship 165 years ago, bound for the promise of America.

"He instilled in his family - including my mother, Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden - a deep overwhelming pride in his heritage. It is a pride I carry with me to this day and a pride the I know I share with the many people of County Mayo.

"On Mayo Day, we celebrate our beloved County Mayo. Whether it is the land of our ancestors or our newly chosen home, County Mayo offers its family much to take pride in," he continued.

"From the cliffs of Downpatrick Head in the Wild Atlantic to the view of Slew Bay atop the Croagh Patrick, the beauty of Mayo is only rivalled by the generosity and goodness of its people -  a goodness I felt when I visited a few years ago and reconnected with my Irish family.

"The heart and spirit from Castlebar to Westport to Crossmolina and all the towns in between make us who we are. And they are a reminder that we are all connected by where we call home.

"Being Irish - as my mother always told me - is about family, faith, and the conviction that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity," he finished.

"As we celebrate Mayo Day, may we continue take pride in all the ways that County Mayo has shaped us."

While Biden has not yet visited Ireland in his capacity as President of the United States, both he and Taoiseach Micheál Martin have reiterated their commitment to a visit during his tenure.