A SPECIAL gift given to US President Joe Biden by Irish President Michael D Higgins during his state visit to Ireland has been revealed.
President Biden was a guest of President Higgins and wife Sabina during his four-day visit to the island of Ireland from April 11-14.
While in Dublin he met with President Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin.
Following the usual ceremonial welcome given to heads of state by the President, a meeting took place between the two leaders in which President Higgins welcomed President Biden back to Ireland.
The occasion marked the third meeting between the pair at Áras an Uachtaráin.
President Biden previously visited President Higgins in June 2016 during his term as Vice President and then again in September 2017 when President Higgins hosted him for lunch.
Last week’s visit marked his first at President however, and saw Mr Higgins present Biden with an extra special gift, his office has since confirmed.
He presented the US president with a vinyl copy of ‘Patrick Kavanagh: Almost Everything…’, a new album released by Claddagh Records in September 2023.
Originally released on Claddagh in 1964, the double album features the only recording of Patrick Kavanagh reading his most celebrated poems.
The second album also features Kavanagh’s poetry read by President Higgins, Bono, Hozier, Imelda May, Liam Neeson, Jessie Buckley, Aidan Gillen, Lisa McGee, Lisa Hannigan, Evanna Lynch, Sharon Corr, Kathleen Watkins, Christy Moore, Rachael Blackmore and Aisling Bea, all set to a music composition recorded by Cormac Butler.
Following its release last autumn, the double album reached No. 1 in the Irish Compilation Charts and is the first poetry album ever to top the Irish charts.
President Higgins also gave President Biden signed copies of ‘Machnamh 100: Centenary Reflections volume 1’, which brings together the Irish president’s first three Machnamh 100 seminars, as well as a book of the President’s speeches delivered in 2016 as part of the centenary commemorations for the 1916 Rising.
Follwiing their meeting, President Biden planted an Irish oak tree in the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin - following in the footsteps of Presidents John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, before him, each of whom have previously planted a tree on the grounds.
Following their meeting, President Higgins said: “I was delighted to welcome President Biden back to Áras an Uachtaráin, in what was his first visit as President of the United States.”
He added: “It is timely that President Biden is visiting not only on the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, but also in the year that marks the 60th anniversary of the visit of President John F. Kennedy to Ireland in June 1963.
“Like so many Irish people, President Biden’s family emigrated to the United States in the mid-19th century and we remain very aware both of our links to those who emigrated in those times, and also those who have migrated to America and across the world in the decades since, and to the particular challenges which many of our diaspora continue to face.”
In a nod to his special gift to the US president, Mr Higgins added: “I was also pleased to once again have the opportunity to discuss Irish artistic and cultural works with President Biden, and in particular our shared interest in Patrick Kavanagh - one of our greatest Irish poets whose work is so familiar to Irish migrants, in particular evoking, as it does, fields left behind and a spirit seeking freedom.”