US President Joe Biden has written of his pride in his Co Mayo ancestry, in a letter to mark the annual "Mayo Day" event.

Mr Biden's great grandfather on his maternal side, Edward Blewitt, was from Ballina and the President has visited the area on a number of occasions.

Mr Biden travelled to Mayo in 2016 in his capacity as US Vice President and in 2017, he returned to turn the sod on a new hospice building outside Castlebar, but has not been there since becoming US president.

His ancestors emigrated to the United States in the 1850s but a mural of Joe Biden remains in place on Market Square, erected in 2020 by local artists Padraig 'Smiler' Mitchell and Leslie Lackey, close to where his maternal great grandfather was born over 200 years ago.

The "Mayo Day" initiative aims to promote the county and maintain the connection between those who are from the area, with those who have ancestral roots there.

In a letter to mark the eighth staging of the event, the US President says that "the places we’re from are the places that shape us, climb into our hearts, and never leave us".

He writes that "the heart and spirit" of the county link people all over the world with Mayo connections.

A number of events will take place today under the theme "Home is where the heart is", to mark the first in-person Mayo Day celebrations since the start of the pandemic.

Among them, a women's mini marathon in Castlebar, an afternoon of free live music in the town and several family focused gatherings at locations around the county

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