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Dublin: 8 °C Saturday 28 March, 2020

President Obama got quite a few gifts from Ireland today

He was presented with some very special books today by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Hand-crafted books presented to President Obama today by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
Hand-crafted books presented to President Obama today by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
Image: Yeats2015

PRESIDENT OBAMA DOES pretty well on St Patrick’s Day in terms of gifts.

Today he received a load of Irish food, a bowl of shamrock as well as some very special Yeatsian gifts.

Yeats2015 provides a special twist to the annual presentation by the Taoiseach of a Waterford Crystal bowl of shamrock (which will be almost immediately destroyed by the US Secret Service).

This year the bowl was engraved with lines from one of Yeats’ best-loved poems:

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven.

The president also received a specially crafted collection of Yeats poems, as part of the global celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the Irish poet’s birth.

Detail_Title Source: Yeats2015

Detail_Arab_Press2 Source: Yeats2015

President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden each received a hand-printed and hand-bound book of a selection of Yeats’ poems, produced in collaboration with the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland’s Irish Design 2015 initiative.

Two smaller books containing quotes from the life and works of Yeats were presented to the president’s daughters, Sasha and Malia.

11 Source: Yeats2015

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny said:

This year, with Yeats2015, the Government marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of one of the great Irish poets, WB Yeats.
In this special year, I was delighted to be able to present President Obama with gifts that celebrate Yeats and his remarkable contribution to literary history.

The book was printed by Mary Plunkett of The Belgrave Private Press in Dublin. Mary is the grand niece of the 1916 leader Joseph Mary Plunket.

She said she was inspired by the work of the Yeats sisters Susan and Elizabeth, who set up and ran Cuala Press in Dublin, printing many of WB’s works.

MaryPlunkett_printing2 Source: Yeats2015

The book was bound in green leather at Ox Bindery Press in Tubbercurry, Co Sligo.

The work was done Benjamin van de Wetering, a master craftsman, printer and restorer of manuscripts and books.

10989210_828015420578639_1359282461644055332_o Source: Enda Kenny/Facebook

As well as giving him gifts, Kenny said he took the opportunity to continue to advocate for immigration reform to assist the many thousands of undocumented Irish in the US.

He said he discussed visa waivers that would allow illegal Irish immigrants to travel back and forth freely to Ireland and the US.

I would hope that at the end of the day that political leadership here in Washington can conclusively deal with this particular problem.

Read: YouTube absolutely mangled the subtitles on Michael D. Higgins’ Paddy’s Day address>

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