Mike Pence and Donald Trump’s Irish connection: Doonbeg

Indiana Republican governor’s grandparents emigrated from Clare and Sligo

Indiana governor Mike Pence, a front-runner to be Donald Trump's running mate, shares Irish connections with the New York billionaire. Mr Pence's great-grandmother came from Doonbeg, Co Clare, home to Trump's Irish golf resort.

Mr Pence's grandfather, Richard Michael Cawley, emigrated to the US from Tubercurry, Co Sligo. He passed through the immigration station at Ellis Island in New York on April 11th, 1923. Growing up, Mr Pence was reportedly close to his grandfather, who worked as a bus driver in Chicago.

The Republican governor, his wife Karen and their three children visited Ireland in August 2013, nine months before Mr Trump bought Doonbeg golf resort.

On their visit, the Pences visited the house where Mr Pence's great-grandfather, James Maloney, was born, and they met his grandmother's first cousin, then 92-year-old Patrick Moloney.


Indiana's first family also visited Morrissey's Pub in Doonbeg, which the state's newspaper, the Indianapolis Star, said was operated by family members.

The newspaper later reported that the Irish visit "left a lasting impression" on Mr Pence, "who as a member of Congress sought looser immigration restrictions than many of his fellow conservatives liked".

It remains to see whether the second- generation Irish-American politician, who comes from a family of Irish Catholic Democrats, could, if picked to be Mr Trump’s vice-presidential candidate, soften his hardline immigration stance.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is News Editor of The Irish Times