US president cheered by well-wishers waiting in the rain in Carlingford

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US president Joe Biden was cheered and welcomed with waving flags as he arrived in a Co Louth town on the second stop of his visit to the Republic of Ireland.

Locals turned out in numbers on motorway overpasses as well as lining road sides approaching Carlingford despite heavy rain in an area Mr Biden has traced ancestral roots to.

Some of the well wishers held US or Irish flags, and a poster read “Welcome home cousin Joe”.

The US president was met by Ireland’s deputy premier (Tanaiste) Micheal Martin, and the pair toured Carlingford Castle together.

The castle offers a view of Carlingford Lough where Mr Biden’s great-great grandfather Owen Finnegan left via Newry port during the Irish famine in 1849 for a new life in the United States.

As Mr Biden walked around the castle amid the rain, someone shouted up to ask him what he thought of the weather, to which the president quipped: “It’s fine, it’s Ireland.”

The US president is next due to visit Dundalk where eager members of the public in ponchos and raincoats were lining the streets waiting to welcome him.

Red, white and blue bunting was strung across the road while people held American flags, tricolours and took cover under umbrellas in the steady evening drizzle.

A sign reading “Dundalk welcomes President Biden” hung above Clanbrassil Street as families with young children waited in anticipation.

The US president arrived in the Republic of Ireland earlier on Air Force One where he was greeted on the tarmac at Dublin Airport by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

On Wednesday morning, Mr Biden met with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in Belfast, where the pair spoke about the “incredible economic opportunities” for Northern Ireland.

The Prime Minister described the UK’s relationship with the US as being “in great shape”, describing them as “very close partners and allies”.

Joe Biden
US President Joe Biden arrives on Air Force One at RAF Aldergrove airbase in County Antrim (Charles McQuillan/PA)

The Republic of Ireland leg of the president’s four-day tour of the island will see him travel to the Irish capital, Co Louth and Co Mayo.

Mr Biden became the sixth person to travel through Dublin Airport while serving as US president, following Barack Obama’s visit to the country in May 2011.

Ireland’s Ambassador to the US Geraldine Byrne Nason was also among the politicians and officials to greet the president, alongside her US counterpart Claire D Cronin and her husband Ray.

Joe Biden and Rishi Sunak
The US leader and Rishi Sunak held talks earlier on Wednesday (Paul Faith/PA)

He is also expected to deliver a number of speeches over the course of his three days in the country, – including in Dublin, at St Muredach’s Cathedral in Ballina and to the Irish Parliament.

Mr Biden is due to meet Irish President Michael D Higgins on Thursday, followed by a further meeting with Mr Varadkar, whom he recently hosted for St Patrick’s Day.

The White House said Mr Biden will take part in a tree-planting ceremony and the ringing of the Peace Bell at the President’s official residence, Aras an Uachtarain.

Kilwirra cemetery
A view of the church ruins and Kilwirra cemetery, where the relatives of US President Joe Biden are buried, near Carlingford in Co Louth (Niall Carson/PA)

He will tour the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock and visit the North Mayo Heritage and Genealogical Centre’s family history research unit.

Earlier on Wednesday, the White House denied Mr Biden was “anti-British”, with Amanda Sloat, senior director for Europe at the US National Security Council, saying: “It’s simply untrue.”

“The fact that the president is going to be engaging for the third time in three months, and then again next month and then again in June, with the Prime Minister of the UK shows how close our co-operation is with the UK,” she added.

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