March 17th, 2011
12:27 PM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) - If you are looking for a robust St. Patrick’s Day celebration today, you need look no further than the nation’s capital where the visiting Irish prime minister is being feted with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and more official pageantry than you might even find in Dublin.
Clad in a light green tie, complete with shamrocks emerging from his suit pocket, President Obama welcomed Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny to the Oval Office stressing the “incredible bond” between the two countries. Beyond the customary platitudes for his guest’s leadership, the president thanked Ireland for it’s assistance with the U.S. effort in Afghanistan, it’s assistance on issues like food security and hailed the progress and stability in Northern Ireland.
In a bit of news, Obama announced he will travel to Ireland in May around his state visit to the United Kingdom. Beyond a stop to some of the more well-known sites in Ireland, Obama said he hopes to visit a site of more personal significance – with a trip "to Moneygall where my great great great great great grandfather hails from."
Following the festivities in the Oval Office, Kenny, Obama and Vice President Biden were scheduled to travel to Capitol Hill for a St. Patrick’s Day lunch at the U.S. Capitol featuring Roast Angus Beef with Wild Onion Chanterelle Compote, followed by an evening reception in the East Room of the White House. Kenny began the day with a trip to Biden’s residence at the Naval Observatory for a breakfast with guests ranging from U.S. Senators, Supreme Court justices, and cabinet secretaries.
Kenny, who was elected to his post earlier this year, is facing problems back home with high unemployment, and a tough economic environment, following the country’s near miss with bankruptcy last year. This is his first visit to Washington as prime minister and his first meeting with Obama.