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President annouces May trip to Ireland

By Susan Falvella Garraty

President Barack Obama is heading to Ireland this May. He announced the visit in his meeting today with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Oval Office. Mr. Obama said in addition to the usual tourist stops, he was looking forward to finding his Irish roots that go back to his great-great-great-grandfather and beyond. The White House didn't offer a firm date for the visit, but it is assumed that it will be after his trip to Deuville, France for the G8 meeting at the end of May. As reported earlier in the Echo, the President will also be a guest of Queen Elizabeth in London on the way over to the G8 meeting.

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The Taoiseach has only been office a week, but he worked Washington like a pro. He told the president that Ireland is "open for business" and repeated the theme throughout many of the events he is attending over the holiday.

It's a great day for the Irish. The sun was shining and a few hardy daffodils have popped open. The Japanese crisis and uncertainty in Libya have left many here reeling. The announcement that the president would go to Ireland offered a respite from the onslaught of tragedy. The President was smiling as he arrived on Capitol Hill for the annual St. Patrick's Day Speaker's Luncheon. He tapped his foot along while listening to the duo Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill performing a medley of Mountain Lark/Tom Doherty's reel.

The White House will announce further details of the trip later, including whether the First Lady and Sasha and Malia will accompany the president.