Administration

Biden gets rockstar welcome for final stop in Ireland

President Biden on Friday was cheered on by thousands of people in Ireland during his last stop in the country, which was a speech in front of an old cathedral with personal history to the president.

The whole trip to Ireland was personal to Biden but in Ballina in County Mayo, he was met with a rockstar welcome. People were waving American and Irish flags, holding their children on their shoulders, and applauding the U.S. president throughout his speech.

He spoke in front of Saint Muredach’s Cathedral, where his great-great-great grandfather Edward Blewitt sold 27,000 bricks to in 1828. Selling those bricks helped Biden’s ancestors buy tickets to the U.S. in 1851.

“I doubt he ever imagined his great, great, great grandson would return 200 years later as president of the United States of America,” Biden said with enthusiasm. “Isn’t that amazing?”

The president thanked the town of Ballina for their celebrations to support him when he was elected president in 2020. He also gave a shout-out in his remarks to the first Irish Catholic president, John F. Kennedy, who visited Ireland in 1963.

Biden ended his remarks with “Mayo for Sam,” referencing the Gaelic football team from County Mayo. The crowd erupted in cheers and he walked off the stage to U2’s “Beautiful Day.”

He also mentioned in his remarks that earlier on Friday, he was moved when he met a chaplain at Ireland’s Sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock who performed last rites on his son, Beau, at Walter Reed in Maryland.

“It was incredible to see him. It seemed like a sign,” Biden said.

The sanctuary, also in County Mayo, is a Catholic pilgrimage site.

Biden, accompanied by his son Hunter and his sister Valerie Owens, has invoked Beau at various times throughout this trip. Beau died in 2015 of glioblastoma. 

When speaking to the Irish parliament on Thursday, he told the gathering body that Beau “should be the one standing here giving this speech to you.”

After his speech, Biden is set to leave Ballina to travel back to Dublin and then return to the U.S.

Tags Beau Biden Ireland Joe Biden John F. Kennedy President Joe Biden

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