Mayo's Ballina the launchpad to Joe Biden's 2024 Presidential campaign
Following the rapturous scenes in Ballina, President Biden announced on the steps of Air Force One that he intends to run for President again.
Joe Biden arrived on these shores on Tuesday evening with the perception of being on borrowed time as America's Commander-in-Chief, but he left on Friday night looking a man reborn, as he unofficially announced his 2024 Presidential bid.
Often ridiculed by American opposition as "sleepy Joe" for his numerous public gaffes, such as his Black and Tans misstep in Louth on Wednesday, President Biden appeared anything but sleepy as he took to the stage in Ballina on Friday night.
As almost 30,000 people crammed along the banks of the River Moy to witness the Democrat leader deliver his swan song sermon in Ireland, an invigorated Biden offered up a rousing display in which he rolled back the clock on his 80 years.
Making his way to the podium picturesquely located in front of Ballina cathedral, the fervour and excitement of the crowd was ratcheted up even further by his rock-star like entrance.
The selection of St. Muredach's Cathedral as the backdrop for the historic address was a pointed one, with Mr. Biden's ancestor Edward Blewitt recorded as having provided over 25,000 bricks for its construction in the 1820's.
'I'm Shipping Up From Boston' by the Dropkick Murphys bellowed out over the loud speakers, with locals in attendance holding aloft their mobile phones to capture the incredulous scenes unfolding before them.
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) April 14, 2023
"Hello Mayo!", President Biden exclaimed, as he began his address to what was undoubtedly an adoring crowd.
Further adding to the cacophony of cheers, Mr. Biden referenced his ancestral connections to the county, saying that "it feels like coming home... everything between Ireland and America runs deep".
Letting the hard exterior of a US President down for one brief moment, perhaps encouraged to do so by his earlier visit to the Mayo Roscommon Hospice, Mr. Biden spoke poignantly about his late son Beau, who had a plaque erected in his memory at the Hospice.
"I can tell you how special it is that a piece of his legacy lives here amongst his ancestors", remarked the US President.
Mr. Biden went on to conclude his speech with a predictable yet welcomed tip of the hat to Mayo's Gaelic football team, stating;
"May God protect all those who serve the cause of peace. Oh, and one more thing... Mayo for Sam!"
After what had been an action-packed four-days for Mr. Biden, which saw him also become just the fourth ever American President to address Leinster House, he made his way from Ballina to Knock Airport to depart for his home state of Delaware.
As he made his way onto Air Force One, the President- clearly inspired by the welcoming offered by the Irish public- provided reporters with one last parting gift, a declaration of his intention to run for office yet again in 2024.
If ever there was a chart of unexpected backdrops to announce a US Presidential bid from, then Knock Airport's runway certainly now sits atop of that list.
Standing alongside Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the steps of Air Force One, President Biden stated that an official announcement for his campaign would be made "relatively soon".
Speaking to his time on the Emerald Isle, Mr. Biden declared that "The trip here just reinforced my sense of optimism about what can be done!"
- Sinn Féin TD speaks on his donning of a Palestinian jersey during Biden address
- President Biden lauds Ireland for its welcoming of Ukrainian refugees
- Wife of Irishman killed in Boeing plane crash pleads for audience with Biden
- Government departments at odds over Ireland’s Euro 2028 bid