Joe Biden said he was ‘really not Irish’ as he had ‘never had a drink’ – and joked his relatives in Ireland ‘weren’t actually in jail’.
The US president, whose family moved from Ireland to America in the mid-1800s, had celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at the White House with guests including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and One Direction singer Niall Horan, who is produced during the event.
The 80-year-old told the crowd: “When I went to Ireland it was a great experience. I’ve been to Ireland many times, but not to look up – to find my family members.
“And there are so many – and they weren’t actually in jail.”
Mr Biden said he spent six days in Ireland and met some of his relatives there.
Reminiscing about his time there, he added: “There’s still a place called Finnegan’s pub… which is connected to my family.
“I’m the only Irishman you’ve ever met, though, who’s never had a drink, so that’s fine. I’m really not Irish.”
The jokes didn’t stop there as Mr Biden singled out former Irish rugby union player Rob Kearney – his distant cousin – and said: ‘We all know who we’re looking for in the Grand Slam’ – before the Ireland clash with England on Saturday. .
He also told Horan he could “come back anytime” after praising his performance.
Mr Biden also appeared in an Instagram video with the music star wishing everyone a “Happy St. Patrick’s Day”.
Friday’s event was the first White House St. Patrick’s Day celebration since the covid pandemic.
The White House fountain was dripping with water dyed green for the occasion, which comes ahead of Mr Biden’s highly anticipated trip to Northern Ireland on April 25.
Biden says he’s ‘strongly supportive’ of Windsor executive as he welcomes Leo Varadkar
Leo Varadkar meets Joe Biden for St. Patrick’s Day talks
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During the St. Patrick’s Day speech, Mr Biden also said he “strongly supports” the Windsor frame post-Brexit arrangement and spoke about the upcoming 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
He also received a bowl of shamrocks as part of the ceremony, which was attended by leaders of Northern Ireland’s five main parties.