A bodhran that acts as an invitation to US President Joe Biden to the Connacht Fleadh, which will be held in Ballina this summer, is finally on its way to the White House.
It was hoped that the bodhran would be presented to President Biden during his visit to Ballina last month, but that didn’t prove possible during his busy schedule.
Eamonn Walsh, PRO of the Connacht Fleadh, said the specially designed bodhran by Office Pro, based on Tone Street in Ballina, was intended to be presented to the president if he visited his ancestral home in Garden Street.
However, due to his schedule of events, it was not possible for President Biden to undertake a walk-about.
Mr. Walsh said: “When I got back to Dublin, I phoned the White House to find out if it would be possible to post the bodhran to the President, only to be informed that the White House does not accept packets or parcels for security reasons.
“I then phoned the Irish Embassy in Washington to explore the possibility of sending the gift to the White House via their Embassy, only to be informed that they don’t accept packets or parcels for security reasons.
“Thankfully, the Fleadh committee had already invited the US Ambassador to Ireland to the Fleadh in Ballina and out of the blue, I got a call from the American Embassy acknowledging the invitation and thanking the Fleadh committee for the invitation, which is now being considered by the Ambassador.
“I then mentioned the Bodhran that we had hoped to give to the President in Ballina, and they were very sympathic and asked me to drop it to over to the American Embassy. They are pleased to forward the special gift in a diplomatic pouch to the White House.”
Mr. Walsh concluded:“While there were a number of hiccups along the way, it was worth the effort in the end and there was a happy outcome. We would be delighted if the President sends a message of goodwill for the Fleadh, which takes place in Ballina from June 23 to July 2.”