US President Joe Biden capped off a busy day in Ireland's capital city by attending a banquet dinner at Dublin Castle on Thursday night, April 13.
Welcoming President Biden at the dinner, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “Mr. President, our countries share a similar past and philosophy. We are joined by bonds of kinship as well as of friendship.
"But most importantly, we share the same vision about the future and what can be achieved.”
Varadkar acknowledged how the US helped usher in the Good Friday Agreement 25 years ago, remarking: “America helped make that peace possible, and your country across the aisle has helped protect that peace in the years since.”
He added: “Thank you for putting yourself on the line for Ireland on so many occasions throughout your career. Thank you for continuing to do so as President.
“By looking always to the future, you have helped us to move beyond the past, and build something better. You have made an enormous difference.”
Speaking after Varadkar, Biden remarked: “Growing up, my Grandpa Finnegan used to say, ‘If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, you’re lucky enough.'"
He again went on to tout the strength of the US-Irish relationship, saying: “Let's resolve to march onward with each other and all those who seek a better future because the vast majority of us do.
"Let's renew our commitment to defending all the values we stand for.
"Let's remember, no barrier's too thick nor too strong for Ireland or the United States of America, especially today.
"There's nothing - and I mean this from the bottom of my heart - there is nothing our nations can’t achieve if we do it together. I really mean it.
"So, thank you all. God bless you all. And let’s go lick the world. Let’s get it done."
According to the Irish Times, some 160 people were in attendance for Thursday's banquet dinner at Dublin Castle, including former Presidents of Ireland Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese, former Taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Enda Kenny, as well as Cabinet ministers Eamon Ryan, Simon Coveney, Helen McEntee, Roderic O’Gorman, Norma Foley, Darragh O’Brien, and Catherine Martin.
Other notable guests included US Ambassador to Ireland Claire Cronin, Ireland’s Ambassador to the US Geraldine Byrne Nason, and Marie Heaney, the widow of Irish poet Seamus Heaney who is often quoted by Biden.
On Friday, Biden will conclude his visit to Ireland in Co Mayo where he'll tour the sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock and will visit the North Mayo Heritage and Genealogical Center’s family history research unit.
His final event will be a public address at St. Muredach's Cathedral in Ballina, Co Mayo on Friday evening.