Joe Biden Jokes He Wishes His Ancestors Stayed in Ireland

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 17: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a virtual meeting with Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Micheal Martin in the Oval Office of the White House on March 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. Two of Biden's great-great-grandparents emigrated from Ireland. (Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images)
Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

President Joe Biden joked Wednesday at the White House he wished his Irish ancestors had stayed in Ireland.

The president commented as he recalled his visits to his ancestral homeland at a St. Patrick’s Day in a video conference with Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin.

“I joked at the time, after I left, I wondered why the hell we left in the first place; it’s beautiful,” he said.

With a bunch of clovers in his pocket, Biden acknowledged the celebrations this year were virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic and accepted a bowl of clovers from the prime minister.

Biden also noted he followed the tradition of dying the White House fountain green for St. Patrick’s Day.

He recalled that his grandfather, Ambrose Finnegan, would always celebrate the family’s Irish heritage.

“He’d say ‘Joey remember, the best drop of blood in you is Irish,'” he said.

Biden’s great-grandfather, Patrick Blewitt, emigrated from Ireland in 1850 and his other great-great-grandfather, Owen Finnegan, moved from Ireland in 1849.

“One of the few quotes that I’ve been given credit for in my career … I said, ‘We Irish are the only people who are nostalgic for the future,'” Biden said with a chuckle.

Tonight, the White House will be lit with green lights to recognize St. Patrick’s Day, according to Biden’s staff.

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