New Secretary of State John Kerry met with Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore at the State Department on Monday, and both spoke of the close ties between Ireland and the U.S.

Kerry and Gilmore met earlier this month at Shannon Airport during a stopover visit that Kerry made, and he said he appreciated the brief hospitality.

“He was kind enough to come all the way to Shannon Airport the other day to meet me when I was coming back from the Middle East. And we had a wonderful – I can’t even remember, it was early morning or late afternoon, it was such a mix. But we had a great visit,” said Kerry.

“You know what Ireland means to America, and particularly to those of us from Boston.   We are so appreciative for the partnership for the EU presidency and the agenda of Ireland right now as the EU president. And in addition to that, the trade initiatives, the economic initiatives, their leadership on human rights and other issues, and the process that continues to bring peace to Northern Ireland.”

Gilmore said Ireland was grateful for American support for the peace process.

“We’re hugely appreciative of the support that the United States and successive administrations have given to the efforts to bring peace to Northern Ireland and to maintain the peace in Ireland,” he said.

“We have a particular relationship now because Ireland holds the presidency of the European Union at this critical time when we are beginning the process of developing a trade and investment partnership between the United States and the European Union, which I believe will be to the mutual benefit of both the U.S. and Europe, and particularly Ireland because of the large amount of direct investment that we got from the United States.”