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Tuesday 3 October 2023 Dublin: 14°C
Julien Behal
As it happened: US President Donald Trump arrives in Ireland for first night of official visit
The Taoiseach welcomed the US President on the tarmac this afternoon – stay with us for all the latest updates.

LAST UPDATE | Jun 5th 2019, 8:19 PM

DONALD TRUMP HAS arrived at his Doonbeg golf resort for the first of his two nights in Ireland.

The US President faced a decidedly mixed reception when he touched down at Shannon Airport late this afternoon. 

While the Taoiseach and other government officials were on hand to welcome him, environmental and anti-war groups were planning to stage protests nearby.

Trump told reporters that the Irish border will “work out” after Brexit, and praised Leo Varadkar before the two held talks for around an hour.

The president then took a helicopter trip to his resort at Doonbeg this evening, and will head to France for D-Day events tomorrow before overnighting once again at the Co Clare hotel on Thursday night. 

We followed all the action below, and our reporters @christinafinn8 and @DaraghBroph were on the ground in Clare to capture everything as it happened in the Banner county.

It’s been over two years since Enda Kenny extended an invite to Donald Trump to visit Ireland, and today, the US president will touch down in Shannon Airport where he will be greeted by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

You might remember the fanfare at the airport when he visited last time around – there were harpists and singers to boot, but not today. A government source was asked if there would be such ceol agus craic on the red carpet today. “Absolutely not” they replied, and no Irish wolf hounds either, they added.

The plan for today is after Trump is welcomed on the Shannon tarmac (at around 4.30pm), there will be a photo op, and journalists (including us here at will attempt to shout a few questions to the US president. The Taoiseach will then convene a meeting with Trump, where items on the agenda include Brexit, Irish-Americans in the US, and also the E3-Visa issue.

Similar to what happens in the White House for St Patrick’s Day, the Taoiseach may well give a press conference to the media after the meeting.

Then its off to Doonbeg for the Trumps, where they will spend the night.

Myself, Christina Finn and Daragh Brophy will be bringing you all the updates from Co Clare – from the official business, Doonbeg reaction to their guests, to the protests taking place later this evening. 

D-Day 75th anniversary PA Wire / PA Images PA Wire / PA Images / PA Images

Trump has spent the last three days in England, where he attended a state banquet with the royal family at Buckingham Palace, a dinner at the US ambassador’s residence and talks with Prime Minister Theresa May. Earlier he joined other world leaders in Portsmouth for the official event to commemorate 75 years since the D-Day landings.

His itinerary for his Irish visit – which is a private visit – will be much less busy and will not involve the pomp and circumstance of the official State visit to England.

You’ll find out all you need to know about the day ahead here.

Trump has already had a busy morning ahead of his trip to Ireland.

He’s been chatting to his mate Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain, where he denied calling Meghan Markle “nasty” in an interview, but said she was “nasty to me”. 

You can read more about the interview here.

While today is all about official business, Trump will no doubt be looking forward to his golf game on Friday at his Doonbeg resort.

There has been tight security around the golf club, as this photo shows. No pressure there on the lads out playing a round at all. 

Daragh Brophy reports:

Here’s brief flashback while we’re all sitting around waiting for things to happen… So I was at that infamous early morning Shannon visit by Trump five years ago. Yes, the one with the red carpet and the harpists. This was in May 2014. Trump wasn’t a presidential candidate yet, although even at that stage he was hinting very heavily indeed that he intended to get in the race.

At the time, Trump was best known in this part of the world for things like The Apprentice, his beauty pageants and his countless self-promoting movie cameos. There was a high interest from local and national news outlets – and at the airport press conference ‘The Donald’ (as he tended to be known at the time) stuck around until we’d run out of questions to talk up his plans for Doonbeg, discuss his political ambitions and deal with queries on whether he’d be a friend to the ‘Vertigo angustior’ — the microscopic snail that had hampered the development plans of the golf resort’s previous owners.

Expect a very different set up today… There’s no formal press conference scheduled, but reporters will be shouting questions to the US President as he poses with the Taoiseach for an official photo-op before their meeting. Trump tends to like this sort of scenario – as he’s not necessarily expected to answer questions, but can choose to do so if he’s in the mood.

If you like you can read our article on that 2014 visit here. Here’s a sample:

The 67-year-old billionaire — best known in recent years for his role as host of The Apprentice, and his ‘birther’ campaign against Barack Obama — caused a stir among tourists and workers at the airport, as his customised 757 swept in from the west shortly before 8am.

He was greeted at the end of the red-carpet by Finance Minister Michael Noonan, County Clare Mayor Joe Arkins, various local dignitaries, and a freezing three-piece of musicians — who sang, fiddled and played the harp as Trump stepped down to the tarmac alongside his two sons, Ed and Donald Jnr, and daughter Ivanka. / YouTube

The latest on Trump’s progress from CBS White House Correspondent Mark Knoller:

Our political correspondent Christina Finn is on one of the press buses heading to Shannon and will be airside for Trump’s arrival later this afternoon, if you feel like following her on Twitter… 

This impressive looking aircraft is already on the tarmac at Shannon… It’s not Air Force One though, just the advance party. 

Like to know more about Air Force One? From the White House website

Technically, Air Force One is used to describe any Air Force aircraft carrying the President — but since the middle of the 20th century, it has been standard practice to refer to specific planes that are equipped to transport the Commander-in-Chief. Today, this name refers to one of two highly customized Boeing 747-200B series aircraft, which carry the tail codes 28000 and 29000. The Air Force designation for the aircraft is VC-25A.

Capable of refueling midair, Air Force One has unlimited range and can carry the President wherever he needs to travel. The onboard electronics are hardened to protect against an electromagnetic pulse, and Air Force One is equipped with advanced secure communications equipment, allowing the aircraft to function as a mobile command center in the event of an attack on the United States.

Inside, the President and his travel companions enjoy 4,000 square feet of floor space on three levels, including an extensive suite for the President that features a large office, lavatory, and conference room. Air Force One includes a medical suite that can function as an operating room, and a doctor is permanently on board. The plane’s two food preparation galleys can feed 100 people at a time.

Of course it’s also the name of a 1997 Harrison Ford film described by critics as being  “full of palpable, if not entirely seamless, thrills”. It currently has a rating of 76% on Rotten Tomatoes. 

jwreathford2010 / YouTube

From Mark Knoller of CBS again:

Air Force One not in the air yet. 

In case you were wondering, for obvious reasons the aircraft doesn’t show up on flight tracking websites.

President Trump is not expected to drop down to Doonbeg for a pint in the next few days

He doesn’t drink, for starters, but security preparations, though thorough, would have been on a whole different level had a presidential pub visit been on the cards. 

Eight years ago, Ollie Hayes was the man who poured the pints for Barack and Michelle Obama in the Offaly village of Moneygall. 

We caught up with Ollie a few years ago, as Obama’s second term in office was coming to an end: / YouTube

And here’s the latest photos from our political correspondent Christina Finn on the ground in Shannon.

Still awaiting Trump’s arrival…

Image from iOS (14) Christina Finn / Christina Finn / /

Image from iOS (15) Christina Finn / Christina Finn / /

Image from iOS (16) Christina Finn / Christina Finn / /

The White House press corp is due to be over in Ireland for Trump’s visit. 

We’ve confirmation he’s on the way over while one reporter will have fond memories of a particular Downing Street resident.

The helicopter that will take Trump to Doonbeg has arrived at Shannon.

The bunting is out in a few places to welcome the arrival of the US President.

Here’s some snaps from the village of Cree in Clare.

5127 Trump Visit Eamonn Farrell / Eamonn Farrell / /

5089 Trump visit Eamonn Farrell / Eamonn Farrell / /

While Christina awaits Trump on the tarmac at Shannon, Daragh Brophy is leaving the press centre to attend some protests that have planned to coincide with the US President’s arrival.

You can follow him here

And here’s Trump boarding Air Force One roughly a half an hour ago.

Finishing touches being put on the helicopters here.

He should arrive within the next half hour. The Taoiseach is already in situ awaiting the President’s arrival.

Of course, the US President has had a busy few days already this week as he met with the Queen and Prime Minister Theresa May, among others, during his trip to the UK. 

At a press conference with May, he claimed that “big crowds” gathered to support him during his UK state visit and that any protests were “organized flops”.

Dominic McGrath of’s FactCheck team has taken a look at this claim and rated it: FALSE

Read more here

Here’s some more shots from Shannon. Still a few minutes before the President arrives.




Christina Finn on the ground in Shannon is hearing Air Force One will touch down in five minutes.

You can follow her updates on Twitter here.

And here’s some of the people there to welcome him, including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Another snap of the plane from Christina.

Trump will be disembarking in a few moments.

It’s a very cloudy day in Shannon isn’t it?

Image from iOS (17) Christina Finn / Christina Finn / /

Others getting set to greet Donald Trump besides the Taoiseach include Minister Pat Breen, the Irish ambassador to the US Dan Mulhall and Michael Begley from Clare County Council. 

Here’s some of the press corp covering the President disembarking first.

Image from iOS (18)

And there he is.

US President Donald Trump has arrived in Ireland.

trump rte RTÉ RTÉ

And Leo Varadkar is there to greet the President and his wife Melania.

and leo there RTÉ RTÉ

Trump has stopped to chat to the dignitaries before getting into the waiting car. 

Meanwhile, Daragh Brophy spotted some President watchers near Shannon.

Here’s another shot of the President and his wife waving to the crowds. 

It’s fierce windy out in Clare today too by the looks of things.

And here was the warm greeting given by the Taoiseach.

Get a good look at that handshake.


And Trump is speaking.

“It’s an honour to be in Ireland with my friend, and he’s doing a great job as prime minister,” he says of Varadkar.

Trump says he hopes the “border will work out” after Brexit. 

“I thought this would be the best place [to come],” he says. “I love Ireland. I love Doonbeg.”

Is this trip just about visiting his golf club?

“No,” Trump says.

He’s asked about E3 visas for Irish immigrants in the US. Says he hopes to get it through next time.

On the Good Friday Agreement, he says no matter what happens in the UK about Brexit “Ireland will be in a good shape”.

leo trump RTÉ RTÉ

“It’s a very low tax, I have to agree,” Trump says when asked about Ireland’s corporation tax by’s Christina Finn. 

It’s something that he has attacked in speeches before, specifically referencing Ireland’s low tax rate.

“Your prime minister has done a good job,” he adds.

And that’s it from the press conference.

Plenty of questions were fired at Trump in those few minutes. He seemed clear that he was happy the issue of the border with Northern Ireland after Brexit would be resolved.

Here’s the latest from Daragh Brophy of the current protests under way.

The main ones will take place later, he says.

A bit of a different reception for Trump this time when he touched down in Shannon.

No harpist this time, at any rate. / YouTube

The real question here is: Can you name the other six? 


There’s a smaller contingent of people near the Shannon protest who are pro-Trump.

Another interesting nugget from the press conference.

Trump said the US and Ireland are working together on the “Huawei matter”. Varadkar added that he is also concerned about Huawei.

It was something the US administration has already brought up with Irish officials, with Tánaiste Simon Coveney lobbied earlier in the year.

Trump was talking about the Irish “border situation” and said there’s also a border situation in the United States.

He also referenced a wall. 

Here’s the full quote: “I think it will all work out very well. Also for you with your wall, your border.”

Leo Varadkar said the priority was for there not to be a border, and Trump said the way it operates now is what works for us. 

Here’s more from that press conference, as Leo welcomes the President.

And here’s that press conference from earlier in full.

Here’s Christina asking the President about his views on Ireland’s corporate tax rate.

Here’s some of the signs on display from protesters in Shannon.

Trump and Varadkar are currently in talks, but Melania Trump is being treated to some Irish entertainment.

And Daragh Brophy has the latest from the protests.

Here’s some more photos from Trump’s first few hours in Ireland. Smiles all round.






So, Trump is finished now with Varadkar and is off to Doonbeg. The Taoiseach is due to address the media shortly.

The Taoiseach was speaking to the US President for just around an hour, incidentally.

We’ve gone live at the demonstrations down in Shannon.

There’s a contingent of anti-Trump, and a smaller number of pro-Trump, attendees.

Spotted earlier near Shannon…

President Trump state visit to Ireland - Day One Brian Lawless / PA Images Brian Lawless / PA Images / PA Images

Latest from Daragh in Shannon:

“About 12 official looking vehicles – I’m guessing American, they looked expensive – passing here, to boos from peace camp side of the road and cheers from pro Trump side.”

Leo Varadkar is addressing the press now, and speaking about what he and Trump discussed.

“I expressed the very strong view the Irish government has that big companies that make big money pay their fair share of tax,” he says. 

Does Trump understand how much Ireland wants to avoid a hard border?

Varadkar says there are over 200 countries in the world so it’s understandable if Trump doesn’t know the exact intricacies of every one. The Taoiseach says this chat was a chance to impress upon him the importance to Ireland that there’s no hard border.

Varadkar says Trump did not elaborate to him on why he thinks Brexit could be good for Ireland.

He says he told Trump about the borders of the past and why it’s important not to return to that.

There were no discussions about particular tariffs.

“I hope there’s no tariffs on EU goods,” he says, and says the EU and US needs to engage.

Varadkar said he mentioned he’d be attending the climate change conference in New York in September. 

He says Ireland is committed to the Paris Agreement, and thinks the US should not have pulled out of the deal. President Michael D Higgins said yesterday it was a “regressive and pernicious” decision from the US. 

The Taoiseach says he doesn’t think Trump is “taking sides” in the battle to be the next prime minister in the UK.

He says he’ll be willing to work with whoever that is. 

The press conference is just about wrapping up, but he gets in a line about how happy he is with the full EU elections results which were confirmed today. 

On Huawei, which was referenced in the press conference with Trump earlier, Varadkar had added that the Irish government has an “open mind” on the issue.

Other lines of note from the press conference: Varadkar defended the cost to Ireland of Trump’s visit, and says any money was spent for security reasons. 

The Taoiseach also said that it’s his view the US President wasn’t using the trip to promote his golf club. 

Interesting lines here from Leo on how Trump will have heard a lot from Brexiteers in the UK, and today was a chance to tell the story from the Irish perspective.

And, in case you missed it, here’s the full press conference with Trump and Varadkar earlier. / YouTube

Here’s a shot of Marine One, carrying the President and his wife Melania, coming in to land at Doonbeg.

President Trump state visit to Ireland - Day One Niall Carson / PA Images Niall Carson / PA Images / PA Images

A lot of colourful posters were on show for the earlier demonstrations.

President Trump state visit to Ireland Brian Lawless / PA Images Brian Lawless / PA Images / PA Images

President Trump state visit to Ireland Brian Lawless / PA Images Brian Lawless / PA Images / PA Images

Daragh Brophy reports from Shannon: 

I’ve just arrived at the airport (mostly to use their wifi). There’s a sizeable garda presence outside, but the departure hall itself is very quiet … there are no flights this evening for quite a while. 

The peace camp demonstration was held about a five minute drive from the airport car park, on the edge of the Shannon Free Zone. There were about 200 people there from Shannonwatch, Extinction Rebellion and other groups on one side of the road – and about 25 to 30 pro-Trump protesters on the other. 

Gardaí lined either side of the road to keep them apart – but the atmosphere, for the most part, was good-natured: A woman in a pro-life ‘Love Both’ high-vis did a little jig at one point, as a young musician played her fiddle from the stage across at the larger demonstration. Another woman I spoke to in the pro-Trump contingent said she respected everyone’s right to demonstrate. 

On the other side of the road, stewards occasionally asked some of the more enthusiastic demonstrators to refrain from engaging with the pro-Trumpers, after a handful shouted at them across the divide. At one point a middle-aged man in a Cure t-shirt walked towards the ‘pro’ demonstrators with two middle fingers raised. A garda told him to “stop that now”. 

“I’m sorry, I’m American,” he offered. 

President Trump state visit to Ireland PA Wire / PA Images PA Wire / PA Images / PA Images

More demonstrations are taking place around the country. Members of The Workers’ Party have gathered outside the US Embassy in Dublin to protest against the US President’s visit and the use of Shannon Airport by the US Army.

First Lady Melania Trump appears to have enjoy herself at the cultural show in Shannon earlier.



It turns out not everyone’s a fan of the Taoiseach’s welcome.

Gardaí are on standby as demonstrators take to the streets of Shannon.

Daragh Brophy has reported on those protests in Shannon:

Two US women, who now live in Ireland, said they felt compelled to turn out to show that Trump doesn’t represent all Americans.

Asked what message she hoped the President would pick up if he happened to catch the protest on the news one of them, Joanna, said “I really don’t think he’s of this planet so there’s really no point in trying to get a message through to him, because he doesn’t respect the message other than what he believes”.

You can read Daragh’s full report on today’s goings on in Clare here. 

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