Ever wonder where the shamrock sharing tradition between the Irish Prime Minister and the President of the United States came from?
Enda Kenny will be the latest in a long line when he presentes the shamrock to president Obama on Tuesday March 20th for the second time.
Well wonder no further! It turns out that the custom started in 1952 when then Irish ambassador to the U.S. John Joseph Hearne left some shamrock off at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for President Harry Truman, who was away at the time.
Hearne delivered the gift in an effort to improve the relationship between the nations, which had cooled after Ireland’s neutral position during World War II.
“Hearne was rather go-ahead for an ambassador at the time. Others tended to just get involved in Irish communities and their politics, but St Patrick’s Day was one way for Hearne to improve Irish-American relations which were really in bad shape after the war,” said the executive editor of Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, Michael Kennedy, according to Journal.ie.
Hearne’s gesture has led to today’s symbolic gesture of the Irish premier presenting a bowl of shamrock to the U.S. president in what is an annual reaffirming of the strong historic ties between the two nations.
It also helped to promote St. Patrick’s Day celebrations not only in the large cities but also across the country and is one of the most symbolic image of the annual celebrations in America.