Let’s take a look at Joe Biden’s Irish roots

With the arrival of Joe Biden on the Emerald Isle, let’s take a look at his Irish roots.

Let’s take a look at Joe Biden’s Irish roots.

US President Joe Biden’s tour of Ireland began last night upon his arrival in Belfast. He will be visiting until 15 April.

With his arrival, we take a look at his Irish heritage and roots and those of other US Presidents before him.

Joe Biden’s Irish roots – the County Louth side of things

Joe Biden's Irish roots trace back to County Louth.
Credit: commonswikimedia.org

Biden’s Irish roots date back, like many, to the Great Famine. He comes from a long line of Irish Catholics with strong roots in County Mayo and County Louth.

If there’s one thing we can’t deny, it’s his pride in being Irish-American. Going back five generations, Biden’s great-great-great grandfather was John Finnegan of County Louth.

It was John Finnegan and his wife Mary Kearney’s grandson, James, who was born in 1840, who took the Finnegan name to America.

He moved to Seneca Falls in New York before moving to the place where Joe Biden calls home, Scranton, Pennsylvania.

There, James and his wife Catherine gave birth to six children, including Ambrose, Joe Biden’s grandfather-to-be. Ambrose is a man Biden often quotes.

For example, he would say to his grandson, “Joey, remember, the best drop of blood in you is Irish,”. In 2016, Biden went on a pilgrimage back to his ancestral County Louth. Louth will be part of his trip this time around, too.

Roots in County Mayo – the Blewitts of Ballina

He also has roots in County Mayo.
Credit: Flickr/ IrishFireside

Joe Biden’s Irish roots also trace back to County Mayo, specifically to the Blewitts of Ballina. His great-great-great grandfather, Edward Blewitt, was born around the year 1803 and was raised in Mayo.

Biden’s great-great-grandfather, Patrick Blewitt, was born there in 1832. In 1851, Edward, his wife Mary, and their eight children, Patrick included, travelled to America on the SS Excelsior.

They arrived in the sister city of Ballina – Scranton. Patrick married Catherine Scanlon in 1857 and had a son, who they named Edward after his grandfather, in New Orleans in 1859.

Edward returned to Pennsylvania to pursue a political career and ended up marrying Marry Ellen Stanton. The pair had four children together, one of which was Geraldine Blewitt.

Geraldine went on to marry Ambrose Finnegan. The pair had a baby named Catherine ‘Jean’ – this was Joe Biden’s mother.

American president’s with Irish roots – one of 23

23 American presidents have Irish roots.

Biden is one of 23 American president’s with Irish roots. However, it was President Barack Obama’s trip to County Offaly in 2011 that promoted historians to take a closer look at these American presidents and their Irish roots.

All four of John F. Kennedy’s grandparents were the children of Irish immigrants. Kennedy really forged his Irish identity when he went into office and was the first Catholic to become President of the US.

Historian John Robert Greene said that ever since Kennedy, every US president apart from Gerald Ford claimed some sort of Irish ancestry.

However, he also claims that in the case of Bill Clinton, there is no actual evidence of his Irish roots.

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