Enough about beer and related nonsense stateside! What’s going on in Ireland this St. Patrick’s Day?
This is a question fit for Google. This year, graceful swans and red clover grace the homepage of the search engine’s Ireland site. Oddly enough, the U.S. Google page stayed doodle-free today for the first time since 2003.
I suppose this could be considered a snub, but since Ireland’s brand-new Prime Minister Enda Kenny and his wife are at the White House this week, it’s safe to say relations are good with the Irish. The White House observed the day with a green fountain, no doubt a playful nod to President Obama’s Windy City roots. (Chicagoans celebrated with an annual Chicago River-dyeing shindig March 12.)
On a more serious note, Kenny has also deployed nine government ministers across the globe, from London to Sydney, on an annual St. Patrick’s Day public relations tour for Ireland. Usually, Ireland sends 22 politicians on the road, but the country’s debt crisis has caused Kenny to rein things in. Ireland’s currently more than two years along in a struggle to reverse rising unemployment and growing deficits. Kenny was elected last month by voters frustrated with the previously long-ruling political party.
It looks like the two leaders hit it off: Obama plans to visit Ireland in May, according to the Irish Times. Besides Chicago, Obama has roots on the Emerald Isle — one of his ancestors, Falmouth Kearney, fled the potato famine in Ireland and was brought to the U.S. when he was 19.