Live: President Obama's historic visit to Ireland
As it happens coverage of Ireland's big day - PHOTOS & VIDEO
--- The crowd at College Green in Dublin topped 25,000, according to Michael Slattery, managing director of Fire Safety Engineers and overall event safety coordinator. Phone number available upon request from WH
Pool left College Green at 6:56, riding down streets still lined with onlookers, and arrived several minutes.
We are holding Merrion Hotel.
The president will then head to the Ambassador Dan Rooney's residence for a dinner.
Air Force one will depart after the dinner.
--- 17.55 White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest: "Due to a recent change in the trajectory in the plume of volcanic ash, air force one will depart Ireland for London tonight. The schedule for tomorrow will proceed as planned."
--- 17.53 - Obama takes the microphone to make his famous speech. He says "I've come home to find the apostrophe we lost somewhere along the way."
--- 17.46 - Enda Kenny and his wife Fionnuala, take to the stage to introduce the President.
--- 17.23 - Massive Irish pop band Westlife take to the stage.
--- 17.19 - Eurovision duo Jedward perform "Lipstick".
--- 17.08 -
Obama's helicopter lands in Phoenix Park as Daniel Day Lewis and the Coronas keep the crowd in College Green going.
--- 17.01 - A parade of Irish sporting heroes, including Colm Cooper, Henry Sheflin, Brian O'Driscoll, Padraig Harrington, Robbie Keane and Katie Taylor are introduced to the estimated 40,000 strong crowd by Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh.
--- 16.49 - Actor Stephen Rea reads a poem by W. B. Yeats honoring all of those who have been forced to emigrate. Followed by a performance by Imelda May.
--- 16.47 - Concert in College Green Dublin has been kicked off by compare Ryan Tubridy who introduced Brendan Gleeson. Gleeson delivered a stirring speech describing the links between Fredrick Douglass and Daniel O'Connell.
His speech was followed by a performance by Ryan Sheridan
---16.19 - Obama and Michelle head back to Dublin by helicopter.
Authorities have annouced that College Green, where Obama will give his speech later, is at capacity. North and South Quays along the Liffey will be closed shortly.
---15.45 - Along the street, the president Obama accepted kisses from more than a handful of residents, and stretched his arms across rows of the crowd to shake hands.
At 3:45 pm, he and the First Lady walked into Ollie Hayes bar to cheers. He stood in a corner shaking hands with a small group.
The bar had low ceilings and plush maroon colored seats and stain-glass. On the walls: A t-shirt encased in a picture frame with Obama's likeness and the words "O'Bama's Irish Pub." Several 2008 campaign posters, including one with Biden. A banner hung over the bar, "Welcome to Ireland!"
Bits that could be overheard:
"You look a little like my grandfather," Obama said to one man.
"We may be related to him as well. I'll have to check it out when I get back."
"What's your name?"
"We got to get a good picture with everybody. Michelle squeeze in here."
"We got a family tree here and everything."
In brief remarks to the bar crowd of several dozen, Obama said: (check against transcript, but will provide fuller quotes shortly.)
"What a thrill it is to be here."
"There are millions of Irish Americans who trace their ancestry back to this island."
At the conclusion, he said: "And with that let me have a pint."
After a few more "family photos" and greetings, he saddled up to the bar with the First Lady, who had a wardrobe change since Dublin. She shed her dark gray dress for a dark rose-colored dress.
"Yes we can!" one man yelled.
The First Lady got a glass that looked like a half pint, the president got a pint. Both Guinness. They lifted their glasses to toast with the bartender.
He took a swig big enough to elicit cheers.
"I just want you to know the president pays" his bar tab, he said. (It's unclear how much he put down; will ask.)
"How often has our staff been in here?" the First Lady asked.
"How much advance did they do?" Obama asked.
More from his remarks inside the bar:
"There are millions of Irish Americans who trace their ancestry back to this beautiful island. Part of why this makes it so special is because the Irish influence on American culture is so powerful in the arts, in poitics, in commerce."
More from at the bar, as the bartender poured the Guinness:
"You tell me when it's properly settled, I don't want to mess this up," the president said.
"What do we do while it settle?" the First Lady asked.
"I've been told it makes a difference who the person behind the bar is, that peope are very particular who is pouring the Guinness, am I right about that?"
Crowds approves, "yeah"s all around.
"So people asked for this guy?" Obama asked.
More crowd cheers. "He's the best," the crowd responds.
"I want to get it perfect," the president said of the Guinness.
He said the first time he had a Guinness was on a stopover at Shannon Airport on his way to Afghanistan.
"It was the middle of the night, and I tried one of these and I realized it tastes so much better here than in the United States. You're keeing all the best stuff here."
He drank at least three quarters of the pint, as he made more small talk with bartender.
After departing the bar, the president finished worked the length of the ropeline and rolled out of town at 4:27 pm.
--- 15.10 - The motorcade drove several minutes and arrived in Moneygall, which looked as lovely as one could imagine.
American and Irish flags hung from poles. The buildings looked freshly painted. Flower pots hung from electrical poles and lined the sidewalks. The crowd, 15 feet or so deep behind metal barriers, sung a football cheer. Children sat on their parents' shoulders. Onlookers craned their necks to catch a glimpse of the president, who slowly worked the rope line.
There are thousands along the main drag, which appears to be less than a quarter mile in length. Stone buildings lined the street, and flower planters sat in the windows. A Guinness sign hung from one building. The press is stationed outside the home, a pebble stone structure, most closely connected to his ancestors.
Members of the crowd say they have been waiting for more than three hours under heavy rain, hail and wind.
The president has been working the rope line for almost 15 minutes, and is expected to make his way down the stretch of the roadway.
The Obamas worked the crowd for almost 20 minutes, but it started to rain again, so they slipped into the president's ancestral home.
They emerged several minutes later and resumed working the crowd.
"Oh my god, he's coming," a woman shrieked in the crowd.
Some crowd quotes, courtesy of Mark Landler of NYT:
"It's great for Ireland, " said Margaret Tooher, in her mid 50s and a lifelong resident.
Richard Wallace, 49, a farmer, said the visit would help town's economy by pumping in tourst dollars. "That's what it's all about."
His wife Susan Wallace added, "Maybe we'll change the town to 'Moneyall'," meaning they would see money pour into town.
John Donovan, a shopkeeper, funeral director and farmer who owns ancestral home, said: "I'm so nervous I can't talk."
"We have the place spic-and-span."
Asked if he woud serve tea, Donovan said:"I think he's more interested in a pint."
"It's going to put Ireland on the map," said Mairead Kerwin, a social care worker. "Ireland has been known for a lot of the wrong reasons. This will make us the place to be."
It's fluctuating between heavy rains and bright sun.
--- The president spent about 40 minutes at the American embassy in the upscale Dublin neighborhood of Ballsbridge, meeting with staff.
The event was closed to the pool, which held in buses outside.
The motorcade is rolling from the embassy at 1:44 pm en route to the Phoenix Park landing zone for a 25-minute helicopter ride to Moneygall.
--- The White House provided this statement from spokesman Nicholas Shapiro: he President called Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to personally extend his condolences and to express that all of the families of Joplin affected by the severe tornadoes are in his thoughts and prayers. The President assured the governor that FEMA will remain in close contact and coordination with state and local officials."
"The President has directed FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate to travel to Missouri to ensure the state has all the support it needs. In addition, in anticipation of requests for assistance, a FEMA Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) is en route to Joplin. This self-sustaining team will work with FEMA officials already in Missouri to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and any shortfalls impacting disaster response and recovery."
"The Federal government will continue to support our fellow Americans during this difficult time."
---1:09 - En route to US embassy for a meet and greet. Streets are lined with camera-wielding onlookers. Some handmade Obama signs in the crowds. A group young kids held up American flags.
The White House sends along this update on the president monitoring the tornado devastation in Missouri:
"The President received multiple updates on the tornado damage throughout the course of the flight. He instructed his staff to keep him updated and to stay closely coordinated with state and local officials going forward."
--- 12:24 - Arrived back at Merrion hotel
PRIME MINISTER KENNY: If everybody can hear. Obviously this is the first occasion in world history I think there is two bilaterals with an American President in the space of 67 minutes. But I want to welcome President Obama and the First Lady Michelle to Dublin on their way through to a state visit in England and further activities.
I can say that the Irish people have been waiting for this visit. Their excitement is palpable. And I trust that the President and his wife and party will enjoy their visit to Moneygall, home of his triple-great grandfather, Falmouth Kearney, when he goes down there today.
I’d like to say on this occasion here we’ve discussed a range of issues. I've explained to the President the seriousness of which Ireland and its new government -- thereby myself and the presence here of the Oireachtas -- are dealing with the issues that affect our country -- the banks and the economic situation and our seriousness of intent in dealing with our budget deficit; also in conjunction with the conditions of the IMF bailout, dealing with the situation there. And we expressed appreciation for the general support of America in that regard.
We discuss the question of the Northern Ireland Assembly, the new assembly, our relationship with that assembly in relation to the British government. We discussed the implications and the consequences of the Queen’s visit here, following on the President’s invitation, and the enormous impact that that made, together with the visit of the British Prime Minister during the course of that state visit.
We discussed the question of the President’s speech on immigration, which he made in El Paso, and the fact that the administration is continuing to work on that.
We discussed the relationship between Ireland and the States, the continuing importance of that, and I reiterated the no-change policy in respect of the use of Shannon in respect of American aircraft serving the U.N. resolutions passing through.
And we discussed a range of other issues relative to the country here and the fact that courage is necessary for leaders who take risks in the interests of solving the problems of their people and their countries.
I reiterated our appreciation and heartfelt thanks to the American President for his visit here. And like all politicians, we have some unfinished business, and that is that the next time he comes back he’s going to bring his golf clubs. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you so much.
Well, first of all, let me just say how extraordinarily grateful I am to the Taoiseach, to the President of Ireland, for their extraordinary hospitality to myself and Michelle. It is heartwarming to be here -- and people even arranged for the sun to come out shortly after I arrived.
The friendship and the bond between the United States and Ireland could not be stronger.
bviously it is 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 us. And for the millions of Irish Americans, this continues to symbolize the homeland and the extraordinary traditions of an extraordinary people.
The Taoiseach and I have already had occasion to meet in Washington. It’s wonderful to be able to discuss with him again some of the important issues that he is working on. We’re glad to see that progress is being made in stabilizing the economic situation here. I know it’s a hard road, but it’s one that the Irish people are more than up to the task in achieving.
What I emphasized is that we want to continue to strengthen the bonds of trade and commerce between our two countries, and that we are rooting for Ireland’s success and we’ll do everything that we can to be helpful on the path to recovery.
We also wanted to express our extraordinary appreciation to Ireland for all the work that it does internationally. I mentioned that Ireland punches above its weight. It’s a small country, but the work it does on a range of issues -- in peacekeeping to the trainers in Afghanistan, to this work we’re doing together on food security, to its strong voice on human rights -- all that makes an enormous difference around the world. And the extraordinary relationship that we have with Ireland is also reflected in the work that it does in the EU, and so we’re grateful for that.
Finally I wanted to just express to the Irish people -- and I’ll have occasion to make some lengthier remarks later -- how inspired we have been by the progress that's been made in Northern Ireland, because it speaks to the possibilities of peace and people in longstanding struggles being able to re-imagine their relationships. To see Her Majesty the Queen of the England come here, and to see the mutual warmth and healing that I think took place as a consequence of that visit, to know that the former Taoiseach Fitzgerald was able to witness the Queen coming here, that sends a signal not just in England, not just here in Ireland, but around the world. It sends what Bobby Kennedy once called “a ripple of hope,” that may manifest itself in a whole range of ways.
And so, to all those who have been working tirelessly to bring about peace in Northern Ireland, to those who’ve been willing to take those risks, we are grateful to them. To your administration, which I know is carrying on that legacy and continues to invest in it, we appreciate it.
We are proud of the part that America played in helping to get both sides to talk and to provide a space for that conversation to take place, and we want you to know that we will continue to be there as that moves forward. And we’re confident that it, in fact, will.
So I am extraordinarily grateful to be here. To the Irish people, thank you for the wonderful welcome you’re providing my wife and myself.
PRIME MINISTER KENNY: Professor Padriac Whyt in Trinity College -- he’s a professor of children’s literature -- broached me some time ago -- in 1922, Padriac Colum was commissioned by the Hawaiian legislature to track down myths and legends of Hawaii and write them as children’s stories.
He produced three volumes of children’s stories, which I presented -- and I had the honor of a first addition -- not to the President, not to the First Lady, but to his children, Malia and Sasha -- stories of their daddy’s birthplace. And I hope they enjoyed it.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, this is an extraordinary gift, and it just confirms that if you need somebody to do some good writing, you hire an Irishman. (Laughter.)
The press were ushered out around noon. Each leader spoke for about 4 minutes a piece.
At the end of the pool spray, Kenny presented the president with a hurling stick, which looks a bit like a flattened field hockey stick. Hurling is an open-field game, and has been described to your pooler as a mix of lacrosse and soccer.
CBS's Mark Knoller, who was able to listen to the pool tape reported that Obama holding the hurl like a baseball bat, said "if members of Congress aren’t behaving, give ‘em a little paddle, a little hurl."
--- The president departed the President McAleese's residence at 11:02, and arrived at Farmleigh a few minutes later for his meeting with Enda Kenny.
Farmleigh is the official state guest house, and it is quite charming: creme-colored stone building, cobblestone walkways, gardens, lots of greenery.
--- The Obamas and McAleeses walked outside the residence, down a large gravel driveway, to a small patch of grass around 10:35.
Three uniformed officers stood off to the side, holding trumpets. Three young kids stood by the Peace Bell, which symbolizes the peace brought about by the Good Friday agreement. Frame of the bell is made of tree trunks from Northern Ireland and Ireland, as well as a tree from Phoenix Park, the site of the president's residence. A tree planted by Queen Elizabeth was a few feet away.
The president's tree is an Irish upright oak, which will be moved to another site in the park for a permanent planting, nearby the Sequoia planted by John F. Kennedy in 1963. A tree planted by former President Bill Clinton is also nearby.
The president shoveled dirt onto the base of the tree while the trumpets played. The kids rung the bell.
The Obamas spent several minutes talking with the children, as the stick-thin tree waved wildly behind them. They posed for a photo and received applause from a small group of onlookers.
They finished at 10:43 a.m.
Luck of the Irish: A driving rain from only an hour earlier had stopped for the tree planting and the sun peeked through the heavy clouds above.
--- President Barack Obama arrived at President Mary McAleese's residence, a large white house set in a large park, shortly after 10 a.m. local. He and Michelle Obama walked into the State Reception Room alongside the Irish President and her husband, Martin.
The large guest book with sheets of lined manila-colored paper sat on a wooden table at the center of the State Reception Room, an ornate room with gold trim on the ceiling and walls, a deep green carpet and fireplace.
An Irish Army commandant stood off to the side, behind the table.
The Obamas only signed their name. They thanked the McAleeses before being ushered into another room.
As he walked out, an Irish reporter shouted: "Mr. President, may we ask your first impressions of Ireland?"
President Obama would only smile and wave his hand.
He is now meeting with President McAleese before moving outdoors for a tree planting.
His tree will be about 50 feet or so from a Sequoia planted in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy.
--- President landed in a broad green field in Phoenix Park at 9:59. Very windy ride over from the airport.
President and Mrs. Obama walked through the waving grass, through a stand of trees, to their motorcade, which left for the short drive to the Irish president's house.
--- Air Force One landed at Dublin Airport in blustery winds at 9:29 local time. After taxiing a bit, the President and First Lady disembarked. He was wearing a dark suit, she was wearing a grey jacket and light grey skirt.
They were greeted by the Irish chief of protocol and the US ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney.
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