Saturday, June 25, 2016

We kept running into Joe Biden

Just to show how small a country Ireland is, we kept bumping into Vice President Joe Biden, who was here to not only meet with Irish officials but also explore his family heritage a little bit.

As Elizabeth, Jason and I were looking to get dinner Tuesday, we found the street that ran past Merrion Square and the key government buildings were blocked off. So I asked the Garda – policeman – who told me it was secured for the vice president's visit there that evening.

"That's why there's the barrier. He knew you would be here," the Garda joked with me.

Only people who knew the password could get through. I tried "big teeth" but was wrong. 
The next day we saw more Garda, TV cameras and people in suits blocking off the entrance to a building between the National Library and the Archaeology Museum. (OK, that turned out to be a women's rights rally, so maybe some of these brushes with Biden were in my imagination).

But as we were leaving Dublin on the M50 out of the airport, we saw the world's longest motorcade going in the other direction.
The vice president's motorcade on the other side of the M50.

This was the shot Elizabeth got of the Biden family's car after the string of a dozen or so Garda motorcycles. Can't you see the vice president in the back seat of that SUV?

We did learn that Ciaran Reilly, a historian at Maynooth University, met with Biden to tell him about his family and one of his ancestor's role in helping employ people during the tough times and famine of the mid-19th century. We listened to Reilly's interview on a Kilkenny radio station on the way south from Dublin.

Meanwhile, after being here more than three weeks, I'm still waiting to bump into Bono.

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