Ever wondered what happens to the shamrock that the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) usually presents to the US president during the St. Patrick's Day reception at the White House?
It is not good news, saints preserve us.
According to a report on CNN recently, the dear little shamrocks go straight to the crusher.
That is as in the wood chipper, exterminator, shredder or whatever torture implement the White House uses.
Uhuh. That little bowl of shamrock, the "enduring symbol" of the relationship between Ireland and the US, is destroyed after making the long trip from Ireland.
Chewed up, spit out, never existed.
Gone, no sign, same as in no US Ambassador to Ireland currently.
CNN says White House security protocol dictates that any "food, drink or plant presented to the president be 'handled pursuant to Secret Service policy'."
As CNN points out that's "Secret Service-speak for destroyed."
How cruel. Call it what it is – the Massacre of the Shamrocks.
There's no word as to what the Obamas will do with the crystal bowls.
Ronald Reagan used his for jelly beans while Bill Clinton put them on display in the White House.
Barack and Michelle could use it for those health foods they are always chomping.
(Or Barack could hide his Marlboro pack there – rumor has it he is still secretly puffing)
Either way, it's great to see the Obamas continue this tradition of Irish access to the U.S. – even if they kill off the shamrocks.
With the Irish economy just recovering from meltdown and thousands looking for opportunities outside Ireland, we need our friends more than ever.
Originally published April 2016. Updated March 2021.