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Monday
May232011

President Obama Kicks off European Trip in Ireland

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(DUBLIN) -- After an overnight flight, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama touched down in Dublin, Ireland Monday morning on the first day of their week-long, four-country European trip.

After landing under cloudy skies and a light rain, Obama commented that the "sun is coming out" as he and his wife arrived at the president's residence in Dublin to sign the guest book.  Once there, the president and first lady met with Irish President Mary McAleese and her husband Dr. Martin McAleese and participated in a tree planting ceremony with President McAleese.

During Monday's visit to Ireland, President Obama is scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny at Farmleigh.  He will also travel with the first lady to Moneygall to meet with distant relatives and tour the town where his great, great, great grandfather was born.

"This is a homecoming of sorts for President Obama.  He's very excited to see this small town in Ireland from which he has roots," Deputy National Security Advisors for Strategic Communications, Ben Rhodes said previewing the visit.

Obama will wrap up his day delivering remarks at an Irish Celebration at College Green in Dublin.

"I think it's a chance to talk about the relationship between our two countries," Rhodes said previewing the speech.  "It's also a chance to talk about the enormous affinity, frankly, that the American people have for Ireland that's rooted, in part, in the huge population of Irish-Americans here.  And it's a chance for the president to really celebrate the ties between our countries and the kind of unique feelings the American people have for Ireland and hopefully that the Irish people, you know, have had with the United States for many years."

The president and first lady will spend the night in Dublin.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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