Saturday, March 17, 2012

White House Fountain Dyed Green For St. Patrick's Day

President O'bama marks the holiday...
President Obama will "officially" celebrate St. Patrick's Day on Tuesday at the White House, but on Saturday afternoon, he raised a pint of Guinness with his eighth cousin, Henry Healy, Irish publican Ollie Hayes, and hundreds of revelers at DC's The Dubliner, a storied Irish pub near Union Station. Mr. Obama arrived shortly before 1:00 PM by motorcade for a celebration that wasn't listed on his daily schedule. Back at home, the fountain on the South Lawn of the White House was dyed green to mark St. Patrick's Day, as it has been for the previous three years.

The fountain dying tradition is a nod to the President's adopted hometown of Chicago, which each year dyes the Chicago River green on St. Patrick's Day. President Obama celebrated his own Irish roots during last May's State Visit to the United Kingdom, when he visited the tiny village of Moneygall in County Offaly, Ireland. There, he met Hayes, Healy, and many other distant relations during a visit to Ollie Hayes Pub, where he got a tips on pint pulling and Guinness drinking.

The President's Irish roots date to 1761, when there was a marriage between Sarah Healy and Joseph Kearney, the great-great-grandfather of Falmouth Kearney, the President’s great-great-great grandfather on his mother’s side, who immigrated from Moneygall to Ohio in 1850 in the midst of Ireland's Great Famine.

On Tuesday, President Obama welcomes Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny for a day of events, including a big reception in the evening. Not one to play favorites with his Emerald Isle allies, the President will also welcome First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness of Northern Ireland to the White House. Today, in contrast to the South Lawn, the fountain on the North Lawn of the White House was not dyed green.

There was a lot of a different kind of green in front of the North Lawn on Saturday, however. For much of the day, a massive Free Syria rally was going on outside the North Lawn gates, and in Lafayette Square.

The new flag created for a Democratic Syria contains a bold stripe of green. Hundreds of people were gathered, carrying signs decrying the slaughter of innocents civilians by the Syrian government.

*Photos by Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obama Foodorama