Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 at 1:44 pm
The President, the Taoiseach, and the Shamrocks
On this St. Patrick’s Day, the President announced his intention to nominate Dan Rooney, co-founder of the Ireland Fund, as ambassador to Ireland. Later he hosted Taoiseach Brian Cowen and once again used his diverse roots to find humor and common ground:
Now, before I turn it over to the Taoiseach, it turns out that we have something in common. He hails from County Offaly. And it was brought to my attention on the campaign that my great-great-great grandfather on my mother's side came to America from a small village in County Offaly, as well. We are still speculating on whether we are related. (Laughter.)
I do share, though, a deep appreciation for the remarkable ties between our nations. I am grateful to him for his leadership of Ireland. The bond between our countries could not be stronger. As somebody who comes from Chicago, I know a little bit about Ireland, and the warmth, the good humor, and the fierce passion and intelligence of the Irish people is something that has informed our own culture, as well. And so that's why this day and this celebration is so important.