President Trump is met with music and dancers as he touches down at the golf resort he owns in a tiny Irish village – but denies his trip is just a marketing gimmick for his hotel empire
- The President has touched down outside his golf course and hotel in Doonbeg
- He has owned the Irish resort since 2014 and poured millions into the area
- Today he denied the trip to Ireland was a marketing gimmick for his business
- It comes after a meeting with the Irish PM Leo Varadkar at Shannon Airport
President Trump has been met with music and dancing as he touched down outside his Irish golf course where he will be staying for the next leg of his European trip.
Today he was forced to deny rumours that his stay in the Republic was in fact merely a marketing gimmick for the loss-making resort, after the White House initially tried to schedule his meeting with the Taoiseach at Doonbeg.
Today asked about Doonbeg he denied he was simply trying to tout his golf course, saying: ‘This trip is really about great relationships that we have with the U.K. and I really wanted to do this stop in Ireland.
Marine One touches down outside the Trump International Golf Links And Hotel in Doonbeg
Mr Trump has owned the resort since 2014, in the tiny town of Doonbeg in County Clare on the west coast of Ireland
‘It was very important to me because of the relationship I have with the people and with your prime minister.’
Earlier today Mr Trump met Leo Varadkar at Shannon airport. Their conversation touched on the Brexit Irish border issue – with Mr Trump slipping into old habits and referring to a ‘wall’ instead of a border’.
This morning he took part in a multinational D-Day ceremony in Portsmouth and tomorrow will commute from Doonbeg to the commemoration in Normandy, France before returning to Ireland for another 24 hours of golf and relaxation.
Mr Trump has owned the Trump International Golf Links And Hotel since 2014, in the tiny town of Doonbeg in County Clare on the west coast of Ireland.
This evening he was given a warm welcome to the rural Co Clare village – population 262 – 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 carnival of celebration with ceili music and Irish dancers taking over the main street.
The powerful military helicopter made for an unusual sight over the rural Irish countryside
A small group of locals came out to greet Mr Trump, who has created jobs in the village
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.
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.’
Michael Leahy travelled the short distance from Kilrush to welcome the American president.
There were supporters (pictured above at Shannon airport) as well as protestors for Trump’s Ireland visit but villagers at Doonbeg are broadly in favour of the 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.
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump disembark Air Force One upon arrival at Shannon Airport in Shannon, County Clare, Ireland
Mr Trump met Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and referred to the Irish border as a ‘wall’ in a conversation about Brexit
‘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.’
The president’s 400-acre hotel and golf course, which sits above the Atlantic’s waves, is a large employer in the area, and many who call Doonbeg home believe it benefits economically from the visitors.
The Trump Organization has poured tons of millions into Doonbeg since it bought the resort in 2014 but it has yet to make a profit.
The club has been hurt by shutdowns during renovations over the years, but expected to start making money in 2017. Instead, it posted operating losses that year and, according to unaudited figures provided by the Trump Organization, did again the following year.
Losses notwithstanding, the financial trends for the Irish resort appear to be heading in the right direction. Operating losses last year were a third of those a year earlier.
His arrival in Ireland comes amid a massive security operation in west Co Clare.
A ring of steel has been erected around the five-star Doonbeg resort.
Around 3km of barriers and 3km of 6ft-high fencing have been put in place for the visit. And 1,500 gardai have been drafted in throughout the area for three days.
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