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Dublin: 26°C Thursday 11 August 2022

Sliced bread, crisps, and cufflinks: The gifts that Enda gave the Obamas

A special Bord Bia hamper, a book on 1916 and, of course, the bowl of shamrock were among the gifts presented at the White House yesterday.

ENDA KENNY PRESENTED US President Barack Obama with, among other items, replicas of the cufflinks on the coat Michael Collins was wearing when he was killed.

The gift was one of a number presented to the President and his wife Michelle as Kenny and his wife Fionnuala visited 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the annual St Patrick’s Day celebration.

A hamper including a selection of Irish products such as sliced bread, whiskey, cheese, crisps, biscuits, and tea was also presented to the Obamas.

The unusual gift of cufflinks sparked confusion last night when it was thought that Kenny had presented the actual cufflinks on the coat worn by Collins when he was killed.

It was later clarified that the cufflinks, made by Irish designer Declan Killen, were a replica of those on the military-style greatcoat worn by the famous Irish revolutionary leader.

The actual coat is on display, along with other artefacts belonging to Collins, in the military museum at Collins Barracks in Cork.

General_Collins Source: Wikimedia Commons

Collins was chairman of the provisional Irish government and commander-in-chief of the National Army when he was shot and killed in an ambush at Beal na mBláth on 22 August 1922.

Kenny also presented Obama with the traditional bowl of shamrock. This year the clover was presented in a piece of Waterford Crystal that was created to commemorate the visit.

According to the Department of the Taoiseach, the piece of glassware “celebrates the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter rebellion, and the locations that played an integral part of this event”.

Obama US Ireland Source: Associated Press

Tom Cooke’s design includes an intricate cut pattern on a elegant nine inch footed bowl. The wedge cutting in two of the panels symbolise sheaves of wheat, which represent the growth of our nation during the last 100 years.
The five themes of the Irish 2016 Centenary Programme Remembering, Reconciling, Presenting, Imagining and Celebrating are inscribed on the piece.
The detailed Caro cutting, evident above the foot of the bowl sparkle beautifully alongside the engraved image of the General Post Office, headquarters of the Easter Rising 1916 and the Proclamation of the Irish Republic 1916.

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Kenny also presented Obama with a limited edition collection of poetry and art to celebrate the 1916 Rising in a book entitled 16 which is published by Stoney Road Press.

Meanwhile, First Lady Michelle Obama was presented with a hamper full of the finest Irish produce including Flahavan’s porridge, various cheeses, whiskey, O’Hara’s craft beers, Keogh’s crisps and Brennan’s sliced wholewheat bread.

The hamper was put together by Bord Bia to represent the Irish food and drinks exports to the US.

Read: “Bejaysus it’s a pity I have to go back to Ireland” – Enda shares his woes in Washington

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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