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.