Brendan Gleeson has described President Barack Obama’s visit to Ireland as “inspirational”.

Speaking to Hotpress Magazine the award winning Irish actor said he found presidents visit was energizing.

"I found it inspirational. I wanted it to turn things around and I think it actually did. The energy was amazing," He said.

The actor who is currently starring in “The Guard” spoke about his conversation with First Lady Michelle Obama: "I said something inane like, 'We really needed that – thanks, for leading the faith, saying that we’re worth believing in'. She said, 'Yeah, yeah – work work work!'

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“And I thought that was really cool because it wasn’t about any abstract concept of faith, hope and charity. I think that’s the answer we have to face into now after the euphoria: we have to do the work."

Speaking about his character in the “Guard” who declares "I’m Irish – racism is part of my culture", Gleeson admits it’s the shock factor that gets people: “Because people do that all the time, especially here, especially – (giggles) – down the country. I think it's a tester to see, ‘Well, how racist are you?’

“We have to watch it. There are so many times you come across claims that maybe we’re racist in America or we’re racist here. You begin to believe badly of yourself, that the Irish as a nation can be racist. Because they can," he added.

Portrait of Irish actor Brendan GleesonDavid Levene