Joe Biden made history this evening tonight by becoming the first US president to utter those three magic words: Mayo for Sam.
Biden was addressing a wet and windy Ballina, along the banks of the Moy. He ended his twenty-minute long speech, and indeed his memorable tour of Ireland which has garnered mixed responses in the UK and America, with that famous Mayo GAA phrase.
Joseph Biden Jr, 46th President of the United States of America:
"MAYO FOR SAM"pic.twitter.com/M30uEZGFtd
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) April 14, 2023
It was fitting and predictable. Biden has quoted many Irish poets during this week, but perhaps no phrase of Irish poetry captures the wild hope and frustrating futility of the human experience as those three words: 'Mayo for Sam'
The Chieftains and Friends warmed up the crowd in Ballina with magisterial music. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was greeted with a smattering of boos before his speech to introduce the 46th US President.
We will find out in July if Biden's intervention tonight will have any affect on the Mayo footballers and their pained quest to win the All-Ireland.
Joe Biden in Mayo
It was a light note to end an emotionally-taxing day for Biden and his family
While visiting Knock shrine, Biden met the chaplain who administered last rites on his son Beau Biden. The then-US vice president's son died from brain cancer in 2015. Fr Frank O'Grady spoke to RTÉ tonight about his chance encounter with Biden today.
I was very surprised when I got a phone call to say the president wanted to see me. It was a delightful ten minutes with him. I hadn’t seen him really in eight years since Beau died.
"His son Hunter was there too, so we had a real reunion.
"He certainly misses his son. He has been grieving a lot, but I think the grief is kind of going down a bit. We talked a little bit about how grief can take several years."
Biden was reportedly in tears after the meeting.
He also visited the Mayo Hospice. Joe Brolly - whose partner Laurita Blewitt is a cousin of Biden and has been long-involved with the great work the hospice does - tweeted that it was an 'overwhelming day'.
The Bidens with some of the hospice stalwarts seeing the dedication stone to Beau Biden at the Mayo hospice for the first time. The president later embraced and spoke tenderly with all of our end of life patients. An overwhelming day. pic.twitter.com/3PvewjkC27
— Joe Brolly (@JoeBrolly1993) April 14, 2023
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