Taoiseach To Visit Native American Tribe That Helped Ireland
The Taoiseach is to visit a Native American tribe that donated money to Ireland during the Great Famine.
Leo Varadkar's visit to the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma will be part of his St Patrick's Day trip to the US.
On March 23rd 1847, the tribe took up a collection of US$170 (€138) for Irish famine relief - this'd be worth thousands today.
This was seen as poignant, as the Choctaw Indians were forcibly removed from their ancestral lands in Mississippi in 1831 to what is now known as Oklahoma.
Choctaw Native Americans Gary and Dr Janie Whitedeer visit students at Gaelscoil Cholmcille in Santry in 2007 | Image: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie
Many of the Choctaws did not survive the trip, with many facing hunger and death.
After this event, known as the Trail of Tears, they felt a great empathy with the Irish people.
A monument to the Choctaw Nation was unveiled in Cork last year.
The 'Kindred Spirits' sculpture, by Alex Pentek, is at a park in Midleton.
Mr Varadkar says he is captivated by their story and wants to renew one of Ireland's oldest connections with the US during his visit.