President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and top congressional leaders joined the Irish prime minister for the annual St. Patrick's Day luncheon in the Rayburn Room at the U.S. Capitol. Two singers led the crowd in the popular Irish song, "Wild Rover." Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) can be spotted seated together near the singers. (Ed O'Keefe/The Washington Post)


It's so rare that American political leaders gather together to break bread -- let alone soda bread. But President Obama joined Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, Vice President Biden and top congressional leaders Friday for the annual Friends of Ireland Luncheon.

The event is a tradition dating back several years -- and one of the few times that the president visits the U.S. Capitol for something other than a speech.

It's not clear if soda bread was actually served Friday -- reporters were only allowed in for only a few moments. But there were plenty of wine and beer glasses on the table. One reporter spotted at least in empty Guinness glass.

Obama sat alongside House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who served as the luncheon's formal host. Also spotted at their table was Kenny. Biden took a seat alongside Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and House Majority Leader Eric I. Cantor (R-Va.). House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) anchored another table.

Reporters were allowed to duck in a bit during the entertainment portion of the lunch, when two Irish singers positioned near Obama and Boehner sang some Irish classics. As reporters watched, the singers invited the crowd to join in a rendition of "Wild Rover," with Obama, Boehner and others participating, if only a little bit (which you can see and hear above).

There were several other lawmakers in attendance who claim Irish roots: House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Reps. James Moran (D-Va.), Joseph Kennedy III (D-Mass.), Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-Calif.), Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) and Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Also lunching: White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough.