(WASHINGTON) — President Obama Friday hailed U.S.-Irish relations, as he celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, two days early, with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.
“The American dream has always been the Irish American dream,” the president said in a toast at a St. Patrick’s Day reception at the White House.
The early celebration, which has become an annual tradition, kicked off Friday morning with an Oval Office meeting, where Obama praised the “incredible bond that exists between our two countries,” and continued at a lunch at the Capitol, where the president sang along to an Irish folk songs (he is, after all, of Irish decent).
At the White House Friday evening, the president, wearing a bright green tie and with sprigs of clovers on his lapel, told the jolly crowd that, while Friday is not technically St. Patrick’s Day, “once again, none of you seem particularly bothered by this. At least you’ll have a weekend to recover.”
He noted that the holiday is all about “remembering the hills from where so many of us came and the people without whom so many of us would not be here today. And it is about recognizing how much we owe to the Irish men and women who, to borrow a line from James Joyce, lived and laughed and loved and left.”
He then proposed a toast, with a glass of water. “Clearly they have the wrong day,” he joked.
Moments later, Kenny quipped “I didn’t think that austerity was biting that far into the White House.”
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