Rural village of Doonbeg gives warm welcome to US president

Donald Trump was given the biggest Irish welcome to a rural Co Clare village where locals waved American flags and some donned the Make America Great Again cap.

Shortly after the American president and his wife Melania touched down at the Doonbeg golf resort, the village erupted into a carnivalesque celebration with ceili music and Irish dancers taking over the main street.

Mr Trump is staying a short distance away in his five-star hotel where he landed in his Marine One shortly before 6.30pm on Wednesday.

President Trump state visit to Ireland - Day One
President Trump state visit to Ireland - Day One

Local residents arrived in their droves to the small village of Doonbeg to mark the visit.

A number of young men could be seen with the American flag draped over their shoulders while American and Irish flags were erected side by side on lampposts to ensure the president was made to feel welcome.

Paul Markham, who lives in nearby Kilmurry McMahon, is a huge Trump supporter.

He enlisted the help of a few neighbours to make an American-inspired top hat, which he hopes will catch the attention of Mr Trump if he visits the village.

Speaking in Doonbeg, he said: "I think it's a great cead mile failte (Irish welcome) for him to Ireland and to this historic village.

"The atmosphere is building up and we are all here to welcome the Trump family, it's a great occasion.

"He's providing employment for west Clare and tourism.

"We are hoping Donald will come down from his hotel and into the village.

"People are waiting anxiously waiting to greet him. He'll get a great welcome."

President Trump state visit to Ireland
President Trump state visit to Ireland

Michael Leahy travelled the short distance from Kilrush to welcome the American president.

Wearing the Make America Great Again cap, he said: "It's such a wonderful thing to have such a significant historical figure coming to this parish.

"I think he's of great significance from a point of view of world peace. He's a very peace-making president."

However, as common with most of his visits, the controversial figure attracts protesters.

Cork man John Lennon travelled to Doonbeg to express his opposition to the president.

He accused Mr Trump of having "no respect for women".

He said: "I am ashamed that the Taoiseach (Leo Varadkar) was at Shannon airport meeting him, a man who has no respect for the truth.

"There are two homes in Ireland for foreign people to be entertained, Leinster House or Aras an Uachtarain (presidential home).

"I am embarrassed for the people of Ireland.

"Trump is a scumbag."

US veterans Ken Mayers 82, and Tarak Kauff, 77 were also there to protest against the visit.

Ken, a former US Marine Corps Major, said: "Donald Trump represents the murder that the United States is creating all over the world.

"Unfortunately the Irish government is complicit because they are not enforcing their neutrality.

"Three million US soldiers have passed through Shannon Airport since 2003 on their way to wars in the Middle East and North Africa."