Obama 'comes home' to Ireland

US president Barack Obama took to the stage in Dublin today in front of a crowd of 25,000 claiming he was home.





"My name is Barack Obama, of the Moneygall Obamas and I've come home to find the apostrophe we lost somewhere along the way," he said.



The Stars and Stripes flew beside the Irish Tricolour above the landmark headquarters of Bank of Ireland on College Green, where the president was met by huge cheers of "Obama, Obama" - the same spot where President Bill Clinton wooed onlookers in 1995.



The president addressed the crowds from behind a specially-constructed three-sided bullet-proof glass structure.



Taoiseach Enda Kenny introduced the president, saying: "If there is anyone out there who still doubts that Ireland is a place where all things are possible ... today is your answer."



Mr Kenny said: "Today the 44th American president comes home."









Mr Obama paid tribute to late taoiseach Garret FitzGerald, who died last week as the Queen visited Ireland in the first state visit of a reigning British monarch to the Republic.



He said Ireland and America were bound by history, friendship and shared values.



"Never has a nation so small inspired so much in another," he said.









Mr Obama again drew huge cheers by speaking Irish: "Ta athas orm le bheith in Eireann (I'm happy to be in Ireland)."



He said he wished somebody had traced his Irish roots when he was a politician in Chicago, which he dubbed the Irish capital of the mid-west.



He revealed he craved a slot in the local St Patrick's Day parade, only to be given the final place ahead of the street cleaners.



"I bet those parade organisers are watching TV today and feeling kind of bad because this is a parade right here," he said.



The president visited his ancestral homeland in the Irish Midlands earlier and entertained distant relatives as they enjoyed a drink in a local bar in Moneygall.



He said: "I feel even more at home after that pint that I had. I feel even warmer."







The president praised the work involved in achieving peace in Northern Ireland.



"America will stand by you always in your pursuit of peace," he said.



"Ireland, you need to understand that you have already passed the world's highest hopes."



He added: "A dream has turned to a reality because of the work of this nation."



The president met Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness before making the speech.



In a resounding address, the president said: "This little country that inspired the biggest things - your best days are still ahead of you."



The president said the US and Ireland had a centuries-old relationship.

"And that's why I can come here today, as American president, and reaffirm these bonds of affection," he said.



After a 24-minute speech, the president went down from the stage and shook hands and chatted with well-wishers lucky enough to be at the front of the massive crowds.



Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee