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US President Joe Biden walking onstage in Ballina this evening PA

As it happened: Biden delivers homecoming speech in Ballina as Ireland trip comes to a close

The US President is due to travel home to Delaware this evening.


That’s how US President Joe Biden opted to end his speech in Ballina this evening, after a packed four day trip to Ireland.

He spent the final day of the trip in the county, visiting the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock, where he had an emotional and unplanned meeting with the priest who gave the Last Rites to his son Beau.

He also spent time at the Mayo Roscommon Hospice and the North Mayo Heritage Centre, where he was able to retrace his ancestry.

The trip was rounded out by an address to the public in Ballina, where he spoke about his family connections to Ireland and the challenges facing the world at the moment, including the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Good morning, Hayley Halpin here. 

Welcome to our liveblog on last day of US President Joe Biden’s official visit to Ireland. 

We’ll bring you all the latest on his visit throughout the day. 

So, to kick things off, let’s take a look at what Biden is getting up to today. 

The US President is scheduled to depart Dublin Airport at 11.45am and arrive at Ireland West Airport in Co Mayo at 1.15pm. 

He will then tour the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock, also in Co Mayo. This is scheduled for 2pm. 

Knock shrine is a Catholic pilgrimage site that has been visited by popes, most recently by Pope Francis in 2018.

Biden is then set to visit the North Mayo Heritage and Genealogical Centre’s family history research unit at 3.30pm. 

At 5.30pm, the President is due to visit the North Mayo Heritage and Genealogical Centre’s Family History Research Unit. The hospice is dedicated to his son Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015.

Biden is to then round out his trip to Ireland with a homecoming speech to the public in Ballina, which will take place outside St Muredach’s Cathedral in the town at 9.15pm.

The Coronas, the Academic and the Chieftains are all due to play at the event.

Biden’s great-great-great grandfather Edward Blewitt sold 27,000 bricks to the cathedral in 1827, which helped buy tickets for himself and his family to sail to America decades later in 1851.

Biden has a jam packed day yesterday in Dublin.

Yesterday afternoon saw the US President visit his Irish counterpart Michael D Higgins and his wife, Sabina at Áras an Uachtaráin. 

Inside, Biden spent almost two-and-a-half minutes writing a message in a visitors book as he sat at a small table with the Irish tricolour and US Stars and Stripes behind him.

president-biden-visit-to-the-island-of-ireland US President Joe Biden signs the visitors book in the state reception room at Áras an Uachtaráin PA Images PA Images

He then participated in a tree-planting ceremony with President Higgins and rang the Peace Bell.

biden 302 Biden ringing the Peace Bell at the Áras Sam Boal / Sam Boal / /

Biden then travelled to Farmleigh House, where he held a meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Both men then watched a camogie demonstration outside Farmleigh House before heading to Leinster House.

The US President later delivered a joint Oireachtas address in the Dáil where spoke of his pride at addressing the country’s politicians.

“This is one of the great honours of my career, to be here today, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart,” he said.

After asking forgiveness for his “poor attempt” at Irish, the president said “Tá mé sa bhaile”, meaning “I am home”.

president-biden-visit-to-the-island-of-ireland Biden addressing the joint Oireachtas at Leinster House PA Images PA Images

He also said the United States will be “Ireland’s closest partner, your most dependable partner and your most enthusiastic supporter every step of the way”.

In a dinner at Dublin Castle in his honour, the president received a standing ovation as he finished a speech in which he reflected on his family roots and told the audience: “No barrier is too thick or too strong for Ireland.

“I mean this from the bottom of my heart, there is nothing our nation’s can’t achieve if we do it together. I really mean it. So thank you all, and God bless you all. Let’s get it done.”

president-biden-visit-to-the-island-of-ireland Biden speaking at a state dinner at Dublin Castle PA Images PA Images

Traffic restrictions

There’s plenty of road closures in and around Co Mayo today.

The US President will arrive at Ireland West Airport from Dublin Airport this afternoon. 

The airport will operate as normal at all times, gardaí have said, but those travelling to and from the airport this afternoon are being asked to allow additional time due to possible temporary road closures. 

Access to Mayo University Hospital will be affected by traffic diversions and this will reduce car park availability. 

Anyone attending appointments today are being asked to arrive early. 

Emergency services will be unaffected by traffic management today, gardaí said. 

A full breakdown of all the travel restrictions in place today and further information about tonight’s event in Ballina can be read here

president-biden-visit-to-the-island-of-ireland US President Joe Biden with Tánaiste Micheál Martin at Carlingford Castle, Co Louth on Wednesday PA Images PA Images

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today, Tánaiste Micheál Martin said the visit had made for a “very special week”.

“It captures that very special relationship with this president, and indeed with the American people in terms of a shared past,” he said.

“And in many ways, it’s a tribute to the legacy of that past given his own personal family story of emigration, which resonates with many, many families and communities in Ireland, but it’s also a tribute to the rich possibility of the future, which I think he did focus on very significantly.”

The Tánaiste said Biden had focused a lot on values during his trip and the shared values between Ireland and the US.

He said Biden’s remarks will “serve a purpose” in reaching a “balanced resolution of all of the issues pertaining to Northern Ireland”.

However, he added that while Biden got the balance right in his speech in Belfast, but that there was “no immediate sign yet” of a return to Stormont.

“I’ve met all of the parties, and all of the parties are very anxious to get the institutions restored, the Assembly in particular, particularly those newly elected MLAs.”

Asked about Biden’s remarks that the UK should be working closer with Ireland, Martin told Morning Ireland that there had been “closer engagement” with the UK since Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, and that he hoped the US President’s remarks would not be misconstrued.

Martin also said he was “very surprised” by the comment made by former DUP leader Arlene Foster that Biden “hates the UK”.

“The one word that you do not associate with Joe Biden is the word hate. He’s the antithesis of that,” he said.

“I think that was the wrong comment by Arlene. In fact, he often references his British heritage as well, in terms of his grand uncle had been involved in the British Navy, and I think he gave a personal anecdote about that. So I think that was misplaced. He’s not that type of person.”

Asked if he would like to see Foster withdraw the remark, he said: “People make comments. I would just have to say that I would refute it. I don’t have any sense, having met with Joe Biden on quite a number of occasions now, that he hates anybody.”

file-photo-president-of-the-united-states-joe-biden-is-set-to-arrive-in-ireland-on-april-11th-to-mark-the-25th-anniversary-of-the-good-friday-agreement-before-departing-on-april-14th US President Joe Biden with former taoiseach Enda Kenny outside Government Buildings yesterday Eamonn Farrell / Eamonn Farrell / /

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, former Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that Biden was always a person that “went out of his way” to give real time to Ireland.

“Of all the American presidents that I’ve seen and met, his has been the most active Irishness of them all,” Kenny said.

“A man deeply proud of his faith, deeply proud of his heritage, and has paid tribute to that during his visit here, and I hope that as a Mayo man myself, that by the time he gets to the Moy River and St Muredach’s Cathedral in Ballina this evening, that they will give him one almighty welcome.”

If you missed Biden’s speech to the joint Oireachtas at Leinster House yesterday and want to catch up, fret not, you can watch the whole thing here: 

Sky News / YouTube

Gardaí in Ballina have been briefed by Chief Superintendent Raymond McMahon this morning ahead of Biden’s visit to Co Mayo.

Climate activist group Young Friends of the Earth Ireland are planning to protest outside the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin at 1pm today. 

They say they are condemning Biden’s approval of the Willow Project, an oil drilling project in Alaska. 

Biden was due to depart Dublin Airport at 11.45am for Ireland West Airport in Co Mayo. 

However, it looks like things are running a bit behind schedule. 

The Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, Cllr Seamus Weir has said that he will be honoured to be the first person to greet President Joe Biden on his arrival in Mayo at Ireland West Airport Knock later this afternoon.

Cllr Weir said: “As the first citizen of Mayo, it will be an honour and a privilege to welcome President Biden to the county of his ancestors, on behalf of the people of Mayo.”

“President Biden’s roots in our county are well known and celebrated. We are proud tocount President Biden as one of our own, and we take great pride in his and his family’s accomplishments, which have seen a son of Mayo rise to the role of President of the United States.”

Biden was scheduled to arrive in Mayo at Ireland West Airport Knock at 1:15pm, however his departure from Dublin has been delayed.

The president’s motorcade left the Conrad hotel in Dublin where he has been staying since his arrival.

It’s understood that the five-star hotel has been completely booked out by the president and his entourage throughout their time here.

Our Political Correspondent Christina Finn is in Co Mayo today to report on Biden’s visit. 

Here’s a quick update from her:

There’s been a bit of rain in Co Mayo this afternoon, but it looks like the sun is back out ahead of Biden’s arrival at Ireland West Airport soon. 

Air Force Two has just touched down at Ireland West Airport. 

US President Joe Biden has just touched down at Ireland West Airport in Co Mayo. 

Screenshot 2023-04-14 141325 Screengrab / Sky News Screengrab / Sky News / Sky News

Biden has disembarked the aircraft. 

Minister for Climate Eamon Ryan is among those greeting the US President on the tarmac. 

Screenshot 2023-04-14 142205 Screengrab / Sky News Screengrab / Sky News / Sky News

The US President is running behind schedule today. 

He was initially due to arrive in Ireland West Airport at 1.15pm, but he landed about an hour late. 

He’s next due to tour the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock, also in Co Mayo. 

Former Irish president Mary Robinson said she told Biden at Dublin Castle yesterday about the “famous light in a window” of the Irish president’s official residence Áras an Uachtaráin.

Visible from the main road outside the president’s residence, the light is a symbolic beacon, “lighting the way for Irish emigrants and their descendants, welcoming them to their homeland”.

First placed there by Robinson, the original light now shines in her centre in Ballina.

It remains an important symbol for the Irish diaspora.

“I think he’ll mention the light when he speaks because we were in tune last night,” she said.

Robinson will read a poem about Irish emigration ahead of Biden’s speech tonight. 

She will recite The Emigrant Irish by Eavan Boland.

Asked about Biden’s public speeches, Mary Robinson said he had managed to link in a clear pleasure of “being back home” with serious messaging such as powersharing in Northern Ireland, the war in Ukraine and climate change.

She said: “He talked about the economic development but he said it will also include the rights of workers being respected.

“That is so important for a United States president in, you know, in our world today that we understand the rights of workers.

“He spoke about climate change. He spoke about AI, about the enormous promise and the enormous concern.

“He talked about it as an inflection point.

“You know, he had the ability to have serious messages among all the folksy biggest hope for the Irish, which we love, but serious messages were there.”

If you’re planning to attend the public event in Ballina this evening, here’s some details you might need to know: 

Biden has arrived at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock.

Biden is having a look around the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock.

Screenshot 2023-04-14 145958 Screengrab / Sky News Screengrab / Sky News / Sky News

Minister for State Thomas Byrne has said that Ireland “could not buy the kind of publicity the country has gotten this week” from the Biden visit.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Today with Philip Boucher-Hayes, Byrne said it was “emblematic of the way a lot of American people think” and in other nations as well among people of Irish ancestry who have “intense pride, connection, and interest”.

Biden touched the apparition wall as part of his tour of the Knock shrine in Co Mayo.

Accompanied by parish priest Fr Richard Gibbons, the US president then entered the Apparition Chapel for some moments of quiet reflection.

It followed a tour of the Knock basilica.

president-biden-visit-to-the-island-of-ireland Biden arrives at Ireland West Airport Knock PA Images PA Images

Joe Biden is “really buzzed up” about being in Mayo, a local TD who met him off the plane at Knock airport has said.

Mayo TD Dara Calleary said the US President is someone who is “invested” in his trip to the county, where some of his ancestors hail from.

Calleary told the PA news agency: “He’s really buzzed up about coming to Ballina, looking forward to speaking outside the cathedral and very much invested in his trip to Mayo today.

“We were chatting about that and it was a very relaxed chat. He’s thrilled to be here, and thrilled to be at Knock airport.

“He’s very invested in this trip. This is his third time in six years (visiting Ireland). This is not somebody coming looking for his roots. He knows his roots, he understands his roots and he understands the importance of those roots.”

Calleary said he believes the visit will “be a boost for Ballina” but that it is something that must be built on.

He said: “We’ll enjoy the excitement and we’ll enjoy the occasion but we all have to put our minds together as to how we build on that legacy and that work will begin next week.”

The motorcade has left Sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock.

Biden is next set to visit the North Mayo Heritage and Genealogical Centre’s family history research unit.

That’s all from myself, Hayley Halpin, for today. 

My colleague Political Reporter Tadgh McNally will take you through the next few hours. 

We’re starting to see some photos of Biden touring Knock roll in now.

130POTUS US President Joe Biden with Fr Richard Gibbons Julian Behal Photography / Pool Julian Behal Photography / Pool / Pool

120POTUS US President Joe Biden with Fr Richard Gibbons Julian Behal Photography / Pool Julian Behal Photography / Pool / Pool

Biden is now travelling to Mayo Roscommon Hospice.

He had initially planned to visit the North Mayo Heritage and Genealogical Centre first.

The visit to the hospice itself is due to be private, with no press pool due to follow Biden around like has been the case for the vast majority of his trip to Ireland.

He previously turned the sod on the site when he visited Ireland in 2017, describing his time in the area as a “deeply moving experience”.

Biden lost his son, Beau Biden, to cancer in 2015 and he has frequently mentioned him in speeches, including yesterday’s address to the Oireachtas.

While in Knock Shrine, Biden broke down in tears after he met with the priest who carried out the last rites on his son Beau Biden, who died of brain cancer in 2015.

Fr Richard Gibbons, speaking to the BBC, said that the chaplain who performed Beau Biden’s last rites – Fr Frank O’Grady – had moved to Knock to work in the Shrine.

“It just so happened, and this was kind of spontaneous, it just so happened that we have, working at the shrine here, the chaplain who gives the last rites of the last anointing to his son in the United States,” Fr Gibbons said.

“Just extraordinary, and I didn’t even know that, I didn’t know that until the president arrived.

“He laughed, he cried, it just kind of hit the man, you could just (see) how deeply it all felt and meant to him.”

“It was an extraordinary afternoon. I won’t forget it, I can tell you that it was quite something else.”

That’s how Fr Richard Gibbons described Biden’s visit to Knock Shrine this afternoon.

Biden has now arrived at the Mayo Roscommon Hospice, arriving in to huge crowds of people gathering to see him.

Leaving the Beast, Biden stopped for a chat with distant cousin Laurita Blewitt before heading over to the plaque that commemorates his late son, Beau.

While Biden is in Mayo, his Special Envoy to Northern Ireland Joe Kennedy III is in Derry today.

He has already met with SDLP leader Colum Eastwood, who took Kennedy on a tour of local businesses and Ebrington Square.

Eastwood said that Kennedy received a “warm welcome” on his first visit to Northern Ireland since his appointment.

ColumEJoeK Colum Eastwood and Joe Kennedy III SDLP SDLP

After spending around 45 minutes touring Mayo Roscommon Hospice, US President Joe Biden is now back on the road.

He’s headed for the North Mayo Heritage and Genealogical Centre, where he’s due to meet with the centre’s family history research unit and all eyes will likely be on whether or not he discovers another batch of cousins from the county.

He’s due to fly over towards the centre shortly on board Marine One, the presidential helicopter.

Meanwhile, reporters are being moved towards St Muredach’s Cathedral in Ballina, where Biden is due to address the public later on this evening.

Political Correspondent Christina Finn is on the bus towards the Cathedral and has spotted crowds of people queueing to get access to the venue.

Pool reporters are now in place at the North Mayo Heritage and Genealogy Centre, with Biden expected to arrive imminently.

The centre itself is located in Enniscoe House near Crossmolina, with the President flying in from nearby Castlebar.

He’s due to learn more about his family connections to the county, before he heads to Ballina for his public address to the town.

We’ve got photos coming in of the gathered crowds waiting for President Biden in Ballina.

unnamed (8) Sasko Lazarov Sasko Lazarov

unnamed (7) Sasko Lazarov Sasko Lazarov

The musical performances for those gathered in Ballina have just kicked off, with The Academic the first to take to the stage.

The Chieftains and Coronas will also be performing. 

Former Irish president Mary Robinson has arrived at the public event for US President Joe Biden in Ballina.

She is due to read a poem about emigration by Eavan Boland during the event.

The Academic are wrapping up their set with ‘Bear Claws’.

Elsewhere, Mayo TD Rose Conway-Walsh has compared the occasion to an All-Ireland final, as Ballina prepared for Joe Biden’s final public address.

“There is a great sense of occasion here, there is great anticipation building for President Biden,” the Sinn Féin TD said.

Asked whether Biden’s visit could bring some good luck to the Mayo GAA team, she said: “We are hoping.”

She said the event reminded her of an All-Ireland GAA final.

“It is that sense of anticipation when you’re going into Croke Park, that you’re expecting something good.”

Biden is currently touring the North Mayo Heritage Centre ahead of his Ballina homecoming speech. 

The weather has been kind to the thousands waiting in Ballina so far…

The Academic have just wrapped up their set.

Here’s a taste of their performance from our political correspondent Christina Finn.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has arrived in Ballina, ahead of Biden’s speech later this evening. 

The men’s and ladies’ Mayo teams are now on stage, with ladies’ captain Kathryn Sullivan giving a few words. 

She says it’s an honour to be there on such a historic evening “to welcome Joe Biden back home”. 

Adds that they are about to witness something they will remember forever.

“There’s no show like a Joe show,” she says. “Up Mayo!”

The Coronas are now taking to the stage. 

This is their second time performing for a US president, having performed on College Green in 2011 for Barack Obama. 

While the programme of events is well underway in Ballina, the US President is still at the North Mayo Heritage Centre.

He’s been able to hear a bit of trad music and spoke with some of the Caffery family, who own a shop on the site of the former Blewitt family home.

Ernie Caffery presented Biden with a brick from the old house, enclosed within a case.

“It’s a 200 year old brick,” Biden said.

“That’s incredible.”

While the Coronas are still playing away in Ballina, Fine Gael TD and former Mayo footballer Alan Dillon said that there’s a good energy going around the town ahead of Biden’s visit.

“You can feel the energy around the town as the build-up continues and it’s amazing to see so many young people really, really excited about the presidential visit, and he is coming back to where he feels his roots are firmly placed and there is a huge sense of pride here today,” Dillon said.

“I think if you listen to Joe Biden the last number of days, he talks about the values around respect, dignity, courage, and what more have we here tonight than people who actually want to acknowledge one of their sons coming back and give Ballina and Mayo that homecoming that he deserves.”

Dillon also says that he asked Biden to say a prayer for the Mayo GAA team, with the team not taking home the All-Ireland since 1951.

“Yeah, I asked him in his quiet moment of reflection, maybe to talk to the man above and ask him to do us some good this year on the football field.

“He smiled, he’s well aware of the famine we have in this county,” he said, referring to the team’s lack of success.

Dillon added that he expected Biden to mention this in his speech later this evening, with the US President saying: “Don’t worry, I’ll address that one”.

The crowds over in Ballina are continuing to swell, spreading across the Ham Bridge which crosses the River Moy.

There are no official estimates on attendance yet, but it’s likely into the tens of thousands at this stage.

There’s been a bit of a downpour in Ballina over the last little while, with it only starting to ease up now.

But with rain, comes a rainbow!

unnamed (9) A rainbow appears over Ballina after a downpour of rain Sasko Lazarov Sasko Lazarov

Alan Dillon isn’t the only Mayo TD whispering in the ear of Joe Biden trying to get a mention of “Mayo for Sam” into his speech this evening, with Michael Ring telling reporters that he hopes it will be his last message this evening.

Ring invited Biden to return to Mayo in September if the All-Ireland is brought back to the county.

“I said to him, you’ll have to come back in September if we win it and he might just do that,” Ring said.

“We’re waiting for that Sam Maguire, we’ve had everybody now. We’ve had the President of the United States, we’ve had the Pope and we’ve had many many distinguished visitors over the years into Mayo.

“There’s only one guy missing, and you know who that fella is: Uncle Sam. I’m talking about Sam Maguire, we need that once and for all to give the people of this county a lift.

“We love our football, we love our sport, we love our politics and we love the country.”

We’ve just gotten an estimate of the size of the crowd from our political correspondent Christina Finn, who is in Ballina for Biden’s speech.

She says that there’s between 16,000 and 20,000 people gathered to watch Biden this evening.

The Chieftains are now on stage in Ballina for their first performance since the death of Paddy Maloney in 2021.

It’s set to be the band’s last ever gig, playing before Joe Biden arrives for his speech later this evening.

Tributes were paid to the late Paddy Moloney by Kevin Conneff and Matt Molloy during the performance, who have been members of the Chieftains since 1976.

Biden has now left the North Mayo Heritage Centre, with Marine One making its way to Ballina now.

While at the Heritage Centre, Biden filmed an interview with American TV host Joe Scarborough all about the Good Friday Agreement, which is due to be broadcast on 25 April.

Former Taoiseach and Mayo man Enda Kenny is in Ballina for the festivities, having been with Biden at the North Mayo Heritage Centre this afternoon.

RTÉ are reporting that Biden is about five minutes out from St Muredach’s Cathedral.

It is understood that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will deliver some remarks first.

The rain cover is now off the podium and the bulletproof glass is in place.

Mark Duffy, independent councillor for Ballina now speaking.

“Tonight we are celebrating in Ballina. We’re celebrating our history, our heritage, our culture and most importantly, our people,” Duffy said

“In just a few minutes time, the President of the USA is in Ballina for the third time.”

Duffy mentions that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will be speaking and there are some audible boo’s from the crowd.

However, when Varadkar is welcomed to the stage there is plenty of cheering.

Varadkar welcomes Biden back to Ballina, saying that the story of Ireland can be told through poetry and music, but it is “most eloquently expressed” through its people.

“It is a story of longing – for a better life, a better society, and a better world.  A story of unimaginable courage in the face of loss,” Varadkar said.

“And, above all, it is a story of love – for country, for family, and for community.   

“It is your story, Mr President, as well as our own.”

Varadkar refers to Biden as the “most Irish of all American Presidents not because of what is written on your family tree, but because of what is enshrined in your soul”. 

“We did not need to gather here today in our thousands to say: ‘Welcome back to Ireland’. In your heart, you never left.”

On the RTÉ stream, there are shouts of “Mayo for Sam” and “bring on the Joe show”.

Joe Biden walks on stage to “Shipping Up to Boston” by Dropkick Murphys.

Biden begins his speech by thanking Mark Duffy and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, while also praising the music this evening.

“Let’s give another big hand by the way to the Chieftains.”

Biden mentions Fr Frank O’Grady, who he met at Knock Shrine this afternoon by coincidence, who carried out last rites for his son Beau in 2015.

Biden speaks of hearing about the celebrations that broke out in Ballina after he was declared elected in 2020.

“I’ll tell you what, it means the world to me and my entire family to be embraced as Mayo Joe, son of Ballina.”

“It feels like coming home, it really does. Over the years, stories of this place has become part of my soul.”

Biden is speaking about his relatives, who grew up in Scranton Pennsylvania.

He jokes that his father, Joseph R Biden Sr, had a saving grace in that his mother was a Hannafin from Galway.

“It rescues the fact that Biden is an English name,” he tells the crowd.

Biden is now speaking about Mayo Roscommon Hospice, which he turned the sod on in 2017.

He mentions how there is a plaque dedicated to his son Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015, at the hospice.

He adds that he can’t say how special it is to have that plaque there, keeping a piece of Beau’s legacy among his ancestors.

Some photos now coming in of Biden arriving on stage in Ballina.

president-biden-visit-to-the-island-of-ireland US President Joe Biden walking onstage in Ballina this evening PA PA

Biden says that the world stands “at an inflection point”.

“In these moments we need hope and courage more than ever,” he says.

“We’re facing enormous challenges around the world. Challenges that are too great for any one country to solve alone.”

He mentions the work Ireland carries out helping with the effort to combat world hunger.

Biden also speaks about the “brutal aggression” of Russia with the invasion of Ukraine.

He praises Irish people for their efforts in helping Ukrainian refugees who have been displaced.

“I want to thank you for your incredibly generosity, like so many other Irish families across this country who have opened up their hearts and homes to tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees, fleeing Russia’s brutal violence.”

Biden ends the speech with a rousing “Mayo for Sam”, as U2′s Beautiful Day plays in the background.

Dr Norah Patten, who Biden mentioned in his speech as the Ballina woman who may become Ireland’s first astronaut, has just tweeted this:

We’re getting a few more photos in of Biden’s address to Ballina now, from both RollingNews and Press Association.

president-biden-visit-to-the-island-of-ireland Brian Lawless / PA Brian Lawless / PA / PA

unnamed (10) Sasko Lazarov / Sasko Lazarov / /

Another estimate here on the crowd size for Biden’s speech.

The White House has told US reporters that there were approximately 27,000 attendees this evening.

That’s it from me, Tadgh McNally, this evening as President Joe Biden prepares to return home to the US. Thank you for joining us over the last four days.

There will be further coverage of Biden’s homecoming speech available on The Journal in the next short while!

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