Ireland’s “best days are yet to come,” was the message U.S. President Barack Obama had for the Irish public yesterday.
Delivering a moving speech to the crowd of 40,000 people gathered in College Green on Monday, Obama urged Irish people to take inspiration from past achievements, including the countries’ peace process, adding that the U.S. would “stand by Ireland always”.
Speaking about the current recession Obama said that the country had faced trials before which it had endured and overcome.
“This little country that inspires the biggest things ... your best days are still ahead. ... If anyone tells you otherwise, remember the simple mantra, Is feidir linn (Yes we can),” the US president said when he addressed the crowd in Dublin’s city center.
He also spoke about the historical links between the U.S. and Ireland.
“The friendship and the bond between Ireland and the US could not be stronger ... for the United States and Ireland carries a blood lineage. For millions of Irish-Americans this continues to symbolize the homeland and the extraordinary traditions of an extraordinary people,'”he said.
The speech marked the final engagement of his visit to Ireland. He and the first lady, Michelle Obama were due to stay overnight in Ireland but instead departed for Britain on Monday evening in order to avoid the possible effects of the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud.
Earlier in the day the president touched down in his ancestral village of Moneygall in County Offaly where he greeted locals and enjoyed a “delicious” pint of Guinness in Ollie Haye’s pub.
The president’s eighth cousin Henry Healy, known locally as Henry the Eight, extended a warm welcome to the U.S. President and his wife.
Obliging the eager crowd of at least 3,000 people, the president posed for photos with at least three babies in a much longer than anticipated walk around the small Offaly village.
The president and first lady also paid a visit to his ancestral homestead and the local village shop “siopa beag”.
Soon after his arrival on Monday morning he travelled to Irish president's official residence, Aras an Uachtarain, where he had a private meeting with Mary McAleese before planting a tree in the grounds of the Phoenix Park state residence.
Obama then had a meeting with the Irish Toaiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny at the government’s guest residence at Farmleigh house.
President Obama's speech to crowd in Dublin's College Green