President Barack Obama says he would love to be going to Ireland.

Speaking at the St Patrick's Day "Shamrock Ceremony," Obama said, "I would love to be going to Ireland."

Obama made his remarks after being presented with the ceremonial bowl of shamrock (which our editor says will be massacred by nightfall) by Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen.

He thanked the Taoiseach for visiting and said there were bound to be more Americans claiming ancestry today.

"Thirty-six million Americans claim Irish ancestry -– I'm sure more do on St. Patrick’s Day," he said to laughter.

He thanked Cowen and the Irish people for "crucial" international assistance in Afghanistan and in global food security.

For his part, Cowen spoke briefly and kept his remarks to the international arena focusing on trade and investment.

"I’m glad to say that the two-way relationship in terms of investment is continuing. Over 34 billion euros have been invested by Irish companies in the United States, employing 85,000 people directly," Cowen said

"And that, if you like, mirrors the very significant U.S. investment that’s taking place in Ireland, employing directly of the order of 90,000 people. So that important two-way mutual benefit to this trade is very, very important, one I know that you’re equally cognizant about in terms of finding jobs for your people as we seek to provide jobs for ours."