The US President and Michelle Obama have launched into their week-long tour of several European countries, starting with Ireland.
Barack Obama will also visit Britain, France and Poland. He is bound to move on to discussing Afghanistan and Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin Laden, the world economy and the “Arab spring” uprisings. But first there was an informal meeting with Prime Minister Edna Kenny and Fionnuala Kenny, in Dublin, where he made clear the trip is not all about business.
“The friendship and the bond between the United States and Ireland could not be stronger. Obviously it’s not just a matter of strategic interest, it’s not just a matter of foreign policy. For the United States, Ireland carries a blood link with it,” he said.
There was time to plant an oak tree with President Mary McAleese, near others planted by Bill Clinton, John F. Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth II.
Obama posed for photos with babies and managed a pint of Guinness, celebrating his ancestral roots, in Moneygall, a village his great-great-great grandfather, Falmouth Kearney, a shoemaker left in 1850 to begin a new life in the United States. Obama’s father was Kenyan and his mother Irish-American.