Donald Trump spends last morning in Ireland playing golf
On Thursday evening Donald Trump spent some time chatting to hotel guests and taking selfies following a dinner at his golf resort in Co Clare.
Donald Trump is to leave Ireland later on Friday, bringing an end to his whirlwind trip.
Mr Trump and his wife Melania will fly out of Shannon Airport after spending two nights at his golf resort in Co Clare.
The US President is spending his last morning in Doonbeg playing a round of golf at the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel.
It is understood he has been accompanied by the hotel’s general manager.
On Thursday evening Mr Trump spent some time chatting to hotel guests and taking selfies following a dinner at the plush resort.
The dinner, which was hosted by Mr Trump’s chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, was described as a relaxed event, with fish, chips and steak on the menu.
Stephen Kearon, a former Fianna Fail government special adviser, was among the guests.
He said: “It was very relaxed and Mr Trump was chatting a lot and smiling a lot.
“People were walking in and out of the room, it was very casual. His two sons were up at the bar chatting away.
“It was a lovely evening and the food was lovely. They served burgers, a sirloin steak, fish, soup and ice-cream.
“I could see he was eating chips, and others picked up that he was using ketchup. It may have been his own bottle.
“He spoke to guests and people wanted to get selfies with him.
“He didn’t rush out of the room. The secret service was around but not too intrusive.
“It was just like any other bar and pub in Ireland.
“No-one was going up to bother him. He stayed for well over an hour.”
Mr Trump sat beside his wife and White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Also attending the dinner was Fianna Fail senator Mark Daly, special envoy to Washington John Deasy and Irish ambassador to the US Dan Mulhall.
Mr Daly said that the hard border was among some of the issues discussed during the dinner.
He told RTE that the J1 visa was addressed “because of difficulties that students have in terms of accessing that visa”.
He said: “We are looking at trying to change that system and petitioning the US government to make it the same as it was previously when I did the J1 nearly 20 years ago.
“The undocumented Irish is another issue which has been ongoing for over 30 years.
“There’s 50,000 people over in the United States who are undocumented and cannot come home to Ireland.”
Mr Mulhall Tweeted on Friday morning: “Thank you to White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney and his wife Pam for hosting me last night at Doonbeg.
“The Mulvaneys are true friends of Ireland, and regular visitors over the years.”
Ms Sanders and a number of other White House staff went into Doonbeg village, where they spent some time listening to traditional Irish music in one of the pubs.
Local people were hoping Mr Trump would also visit the rural village, however the president did not venture out of the hotel.
On Thursday about 2,000 people filled Dublin city centre in a noisy and colourful protest march against the visit of Mr Trump to Ireland.
The Trump baby blimp flew overhead as demonstrators left Ireland’s Garden of Remembrance for Dublin city centre.
Climate change, left-wing, pro-Palestine, pro-choice, anti-racism and anti-war activists mounted a rally after Mr Trump returned to Co Clare following the D-Day commemorations in France.
The scenes were in contrast to the warm welcome the president has received in Doonbeg, a village that has experienced an economic boom since Mr Trump invested in the golf resort.
Left-wing Irish parliamentarian Richard Boyd Barrett heavily criticised Mr Trump in a fiery address to the rally in Dublin.
“He sows division and prejudice and hatred between men and women, between different races and cultures, between different identities, between different sexualities,” Mr Boyd Barrett claimed.
“He is poison at every level to our world and to our future, and he must be stopped.”
Protesters marched past Dublin’s historic General Post Office, scene of the Easter Rising in 1916, on the main artery of O’Connell Street and raised their voices to urge the US president to go home.
An Irish police officer estimated about 2,000 people took part in the demonstration.
Earlier, a much smaller number of activists maintained their two-day vigil outside Shannon Airport, a facility regularly used by the US military.
Campaigners claim the use of the airport as a refuelling stop for US military aircraft flying to and from operations in the Middle East is a breach of Ireland’s neutrality.
There have been altogether different scenes in and around Doonbeg, where local people have been overwhelmingly positive about Mr Trump’s visit.
On Wednesday night, two of his sons visited a number of pubs, pulling pints for revellers.
Eric and Donald Jnr chatted with villagers and posed for selfies with children.
They received loud cheers after asking: “Does Doonbeg love Trump?”
On Thursday, Eric tweeted: “Ireland, thank you for the incredible support! We love you!”
Ahead of travelling to France, the president tweeted: “Heading over to Normandy to celebrate some of the bravest that ever lived. We are eternally grateful.”
During a meeting with Irish premier Leo Varadkar shortly after arriving on Ireland’s west coast on Wednesday, Mr Trump drew a parallel with his planned wall between the United States and Mexico as he expressed confidence the Brexit logjam over the Irish border would work out “very well”.
At the start of a bilateral meeting with the Taoiseach at Shannon Airport, Mr Trump said Brexit could be “very, very good for Ireland”.
The president agreed the current free-flowing Irish border should be preserved.
The Trump family visit has prompted a massive security operation in west Co Clare.
A ring of steel has been erected around the five-star Doonbeg resort.
About 1.8 miles (3km) of barriers and 1.8 miles of 6ft-high fencing have been put in place for the visit.
Some 1,500 gardai have been drafted in throughout the area for three days.