President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle both hugged his distant cousin Henry Healy on the street outside Obama's ancestral home in Moneygall, Co Offaly.
There were concerns the President’s trip to the Midlands would be interrupted by severe weather with gale force winds and driving rain threatening to force security chiefs to order his helicopter grounded.
But the Obamas touched down in sports fields just outside the village to travel the final few miles by car.
The couple were greeted with huge cheers from several thousand onlookers.
The records from two local parishes, Moneygall and Shinrone, were on display in the pub where the President will see first hand evidence of his Irish roots.
The Obamas went walkabout among the crowds, shaking and clasping hands before the president lifted a baby to hold in his arms, and his wife followed suit with a second child.
The organisers of the historic event had warned that a meet and greet with the public was very unlikely.