People in Joe Biden’s ancestral home in County Mayo, Ireland, filled the streets Saturday to celebrate his election as president of the United States.
There are several Irish families in Ballina on Ireland’s west coast who claim kinship to the president-elect.
The first champagne cork was popped by Biden’s distant cousins, including plumber Joe Blewitt, in the town’s Market Square in front of a few hundred delighted townspeople, two hours before CNN made the call, The New York Times reported.
“It’s amazing to think of it,” said Aileen Horkin, an elementary schoolteacher in town, according to the paper. “I can tell any child in my school that they can grow up to be a president.”
After the Biden victory, Irish prime minister Micheál Martin sent his congratulations, noting it was a “particularly special day for the people of County Louth and County Mayo who count President-elect Biden among their own,” the BBC reported.
Biden’s great-great-great-grandfather — Edward Blewitt — left Ballina for America during the Irish famine 170 years ago, the BBC reported.
Biden visited the town of his roots in 2016 when he was vice president.
Joe Blewitt and his sister Laurita Blewitt told the BBC the U.S. election has created “a great buzz” around Ballina and locals are very excited about their connection to the next occupant of the White House.
“It’s going to be massive for the town,” said Laurita Blewitt. “It’s a great claim to have for the people of Ballina.”
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