“It feels like coming home. It really does. Over the years, stories of this place have become part of my soul, part of my family lore,” he added.
A series of concerts and festivities were the prelude to the speech, which was attended by some 27,000 people.
Biden drew a crowd that was more than double the size of the town’s population, waving the Irish tricolor and red, white and blue flags, some attendees drove from hours away and waited in the rain and cold for a chance to see him.
It was a homecoming trip for the US president whose great-great-great grandfather Edward Blewitt left Ballina for Scranton, Pennsylvania, in the 1850s.
The US President later confirmed his intentions to run for re-election in 2024 after a ceremony attended by members of the government, at Knock airport in the west of Ireland.
When asked by the press about his 2024 bid, President Biden said, “I told you my plan is to run again.”
Earlier in his travels this week, Biden met with Northern Ireland leaders to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Good Friday agreement that ended sectarian violence, addressed the Irish parliament, watched Gaelic sports with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, and saw the widow of his favorite poet, Seamus Heaney.