President Joe Biden has said “it feels like coming home” in his final address on his tour of Ireland as he spoke in his ancestral home of Ballina, Co Mayo.
He was introduced by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and stepped out on stage at St Muredach’s Cathedral to Shipping Up To Boston by Dropkick Murphys.
Addressing a roaring crowd, Mr Biden talked at length about his ancestors, one of whom supplied bricks to build the cathedral.
“As he labored, I’m sure he would imagine that one day his family would worship here, that his children would be baptized here like his son Patrick was, and that future generations of his family would mark the milestones of their lives here in the sturdy walls, but I doubt he ever imagined his great-great-great grandson would return 200 years later as President of the United States of America,” he said.
Earlier, he was presented with a 200-year-old brick recovered from the fireplace of his family’s ancestral home in Ballina.
His great-great-great grandfather Edward Blewitt sold 27,000 bricks to the cathedral in 1827, which helped him buy tickets to sail his family to America in 1851.
Mr Biden also broke down in tears during earlier engagements, after an emotional and unplanned meeting with a priest who gave his son the last rites.