A total of 300 guests were seated in The East Room of the White House for the Shamrock ceremony.

Irish, Irish Americans, and friends of Ireland from the worlds of politics, sport, entertainment and business.

All there to celebrate St Patrick's Day and the unique US-Irish relationship with the President of the United States and the Taoiseach.

Opposition leader Mary Lou McDonald and the leaders of the five main political parties in Northern Ireland were there – as they had been at other events this week. As was Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris.

The 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement and the restoration of powersharing government at Stormont were key elements of both leaders' speeches.

President Biden said his economic envoy to Northern Ireland, former congressman Joe Kennedy III, is ready to work with all the communities of Northern Ireland to "help realize their extraordinary economic potential".

The President said he joined the people across Northern Ireland looking forward to the return of a devolved government.

"Democratic power-sharing government is the heart of the Good Friday Agreement," he said.

Addressing the five Northern party leaders directly, Mr Biden said: "You can't fail in our effort to seek compromise and co-operation for the good of everyone."

"I want each of you to know that the United States will remain your strong friend and partner in the work that lies ahead," he said.

The Taoiseach said the dream of an independent country and statehood achieved 100 years ago would not have been possible without the support of the United States and the solidarity of so many Irish Americans down the generations, who helped the Irish achieve national self-determination.

Reflecting on next month's 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, Mr Varadkar said it "could not have been achieved without the steadfast support of President Biden and so many others who are here today".

"We know that at especially difficult moments in the search for peace, successive presidents from both sides of the aisle stepped in with words of encouragement, a hand on the shoulder, or even a gentle shove in the right direction," he said.

Read more: Taoiseach presents Biden with bowl of shamrock

"We remember President Carter’s policy statement on Northern Ireland in August 1977, expressing American concern and urging that we should find a peaceful way forward, and our prayers are with that fine man and him family at this time."

Turning once again to the war in Ukraine, the Taoiseach said Russia’s "brutal war against Ukraine has reminded us that freedom can never be taken for granted, and when we defend freedom abroad, we also protect our own freedom at home".

As well as the traditional bowl of Shamrock, the Taoiseach also presented the President with an Irish tricolor, to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the flag, first flown by Thomas Francis Meagher, a young Irish revolutionary returned from France who later fought as an officer in the Union Army in the US civil war.

Musical entertainment at the White House event was provided by singer-songwriter Niall Horan, who is currently appearing as a mentor and judge on the US version of the reality show 'The Voice'.

Mullingar singer Niall Horan and US President Joe Biden

Niall Horan's mother very proud after White House performance

There was more music and dance and spoken word at the John F Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts later, with a special one-off show to mark the "immense contribution of the United States of America to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and to the continuing work of embedding peace and reconciliation on our island".

The specially curated performances were under the musical direction of Garret "Jacknife" Lee, a Grammy award winning Irish music producer based in Los Angeles, who has worked with U2, REM, Snow Patrol Taylor Swift and many others.

Among some of the standout performances were an acapella rendition of Danny boy by Afro-Irish singer Tolu Makay, songs by Grammy award-winning US folk singer Rhiannon Giddens, and an envelope-pushing Irish dance performance by Colin Dunne, dancing against the reverb of his own footsteps, live mixed by Jacknife Lee, and accompanied by fiddle player Martin Hayes, cellist Kate Ellis and drummer Sean Carpio.

There were spoken word performances by 'An Cailín Ciúin' star Carrie Crowley - fresh from the Oscars in LA - Ballymena writer Jan Carson, and poet Paul Muldoon, who performed a specially written poem on the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, with drums, cello and live-mix DJ by Jacknife Lee and ensemble.

Traditional singer and harpist Sile Denvir from Conamara, indie pop artist SOAK from Derry, Vermont-born American folk singer Sam Amidon, and Belfast songwriter David C Clements also performed in the 90-minute show, which ended with James Vincent McMorrow leading the entire cast in a performance of "Higher Love".