Tales from the Trail

No doubts as to Obama’s Irish Ancestry now

March 21, 2012

By Samson Reiny
Playing with one of the more enduring controversies of his administration, President Obama joked on Tuesday that he had the perfect place for a gift confirming his Irish heritage: right next to his much ballyhooed birth certificate.

Visiting Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny gave Obama the “formal certificate” at an evening reception in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, which earlier saw Maryland Governor Martin  O’Malley singing upbeat Gaelic-inspired tunes alongside a band.

“This will have a special place of honor alongside my birth certificate,” Obama said to raucous applause and laughter.

A lot of brouhaha was made over Obama’s ancestral ties to the island nation.

The president recounted his third great grandfather Falmouth Kearney’s immigration from the town of Moneygall — which Obama visited as part of his official trip to Ireland last May– to New York City in 1850. He went on to praise Irish influence in American culture and history.

“The green strands they have woven into America’s heart, from their tiniest villages to our greatest cities, is something truly unique on the world stage,” Obama said.

On hand to help the president celebrate the occasion was his eighth cousin Henry Healy, whom the president met on his visit last year. Healy had also accompanied the president  Saturday to the The Dubliner, a Washington pub , where they shared a pint  of Guinness.

In his speech,  Kenny reaffirmed Ireland’s strong partnership with the U.S.  The prime minister also said the president’s visit last year had changed Ireland for the better.

“When you came to Ireland, like your predecessors President Kennedy and President Clinton, you made us dream again,” he said. “On these days of St. Patrick, we hope that you will be able to fulfill your promise to come home again in the springtime.”

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Chris Kleponis (Kenny and Obama at St. Patrick’s Day reception at the White House)

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