Joe Biden tracing roots in Louth on last full day of Irish trip

Democrat's Irish ancestors emigrated to the US in the 19th century

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Joe Biden with historian Claire Tuffy at the Newgrange monument in Meath | Image: RollingNews.ie

US Vice-President Joe Biden will spend the fifth day of his trip to Ireland tracing his ancestry in Louth.

Mr Biden's great-great-grandfather, Owen Finnegan, originated from the Cooley Peninsula and emigrated to the US in 1849. He was among an estimated two million people who fled the country during the Famine.

The American-born Democrat, whose mother was a Finnegan, visited Newgrange this morning ahead of travelling to Louth.

His time there will include a tour of the Kilwirra church and cemetery in Templetown, which date back to the 15th century. 

Mr Biden's trip took a more political tone yesterday when he used a speech on the Irish people to criticise presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

In an address at Dublin Castle, he condemned “reactionary politicians” who peddle  “xenophobia, nationalism and isolationism”.

“We see it in Europe. We see it in other parts of the world.

“And we see it in my home country, where some politicians find it convenient to scapegoat immigrants instead of welcoming them; to play to our fears rather than, as Abraham Lincoln said, appeal to our better angels; divide us based on religion or ethnicity rather than unite us on our common humanity; build walls instead of bridges.

“It has been un-American what we have been seeing.”

The vice-president will attend a lunch in Farmleigh House in Dublin tomorrow before flying back to Washington.