(WASHINGTON) -- Wearing a dark suit with a green tie and shamrocks posing as a pocket square, President Obama announced from the Oval Office this St. Patrick’s Day that he will visit Ireland in May where he hopes to trace his roots.
The president did not specify the exact date of his trip, but said he will visit landmarks in the country and his great ancestor’s homeland.
"I intend to come to Ireland in May," the president told Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, who was in the Oval with Obama for a meeting. "I'm expecting to, go not only to all the famous sites, but also to go to Moneygall, where my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather hails from."
In March 2008, then a candidate for president, Obama told an Irish women's dinner in Scranton, Pa., that he could relate to Irish Americans struggles because he himself has Irish blood.
"I have Irish heritage. I’m not talking about my cousin Dick Cheney," Obama joked, a reference to another discovery about his heritage: that he and the former vice president are distant relatives.
"I actually have a great grandfather who came from Ireland and settled nearby in Ohio."
In 2007, the Chicago Sun-Times published a report exploring the family tree of then-Senator Obama and this is how Obama discovered his connection to Moneygall.
Obama was welcoming Kenny to the White House for St. Patrick’s Day. The White House visit was just one of many special events Obama is taking part in on St. Patrick’s Day. Along with Vice President Biden, Obama attended a lunch at the Capitol. Tonight, Obama and the first lady will be hosting a St. Patrick’s Day reception at the White house.
In remarks to reporters, President Obama said he had an excellent conversation with Prime Minister Kenny about how Ireland’s economy is bouncing back. Obama said there’s an incredible bond between the United States and Ireland.
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