Obama celebrates Irish heritage on St. Patrick’s Day

March 17, 2011

President Barack Obama celebrated a small piece of his heritage this St. Patrick’s Day and announced he would visit Ireland, including the village of Moneygall, the homeland of his great-great-great-grandfather.

IRELAND-USA/Or maybe it’s five ‘greats’, as he said in the Oval Office this morning? Either way, he’s confident he’s a little bit Irish.

“Two years into my presidency, some are still bent on peddling rumors about my origins.  So today I want to put all those rumors to rest,” he joked at the Friends of Ireland luncheon that he attended at the Capitol with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny. ” It is true my great-great-great-grandfather really was from Ireland.”

“I can’t believe I have to keep pointing this out,” Obama said.

House Speaker John Boehner, Irish Ambassador to the United States Michael Collins and others joined the president and prime minister (or taoiseach) for crab salad and roast Angus beef.

Musicians played a medley of two Irish songs, “Mountain Lark” and “Tom Doherty’s Reel.”

Earlier in the day, in a joint appearance with Kenny in the Oval Office, Obama said the United States plans to work closely with Ireland as the nation recovers from its own financial crisis.

“The Taoiseach shared with me his plans and his efforts to make sure that people are put back to work in Ireland, that the financial system is stabilized,” Obama said. “And he exudes great confidence, and I’m sure that we will be cooperating very closely with him and providing any assistance that we can on the economic front.”

Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Obama departs St. Patrick’s Day luncheon at the Capitol)

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