The First Daughters are out of school...so, they're traveling with the parents....yeah...
[caption id="attachment_45964" align="alignnone" width="545"] President Obama, the First Lady and their daughters Sasha and Malia are greeted by Joan Christie, the Queen’s official representative in Northern Ireland, upon their arrival at Belfast International Airport[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_45965" align="alignnone" width="540"] President Obama and his wife Michelle, pictured with First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness[/caption]
It never gets old...watching the First Family come out of Air Force One.
[caption id="attachment_45971" align="alignnone" width="545"] Belfast airport[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_45972" align="alignnone" width="545"] The First Lady, Malia and Sasha:
Shortly after their arrival in Dublin from Belfast they will visit Trinity College at lunchtime where they will view the Book of Kells.
Snippets of Pres. Obama’s speech:
“Hello, Belfast. Hello, Northern Ireland. Well, now you know why it’s so difficult to speak after Michelle. She’s better than me.”
“I want to thank two men I’ve hosted at the White House on many a St Patrick’s Day for their warm welcome – First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.”
“I spend the whole year trying to unite Washington around something, and they come visit on St Patrick’s Day and do it in a single afternoon,” Mr Obama says.
Mr Obama said he only found out a few years ago that his great-great-great-grandfather was born in Ireland. “When I was first running for office in Chicago, I didn’t know this. I wish I had,” he said.
“But in Chicago, it worked out okay – they’d look at my last name and say, ‘oh, look, there’s an O’Bama from the homeland running on the South Side – but what kind of name is Barack?”
The president says that while in Moneygall, County Offaly, he met his eighth cousin, Henry, known affectionately as Henry the Eighth.
“America’s story, in part, began right outside the doors of this gleaming hall. 325 years ago, a ship set sail from the River Lagan for the Chesapeake Bay, filled with men and women who dreamed of building a new life in a new land.”
“They, followed by hundreds of thousands more, helped us write those early chapters. They helped us win our independence. They helped us draft our constitution.”
“Our histories are bound by blood and belief; by culture and commerce. And our futures are equally, inextricably bound together as well. That’s why I’ve come to Belfast today – to talk about the future we can build together.”
“Many of the qualities that we Americans hold dear we imported from this land, perseverance and faith, an unbending belief that we make our own destiny, and an unshakable dream that if we work hard and live responsibly, something better lies just around the bend.”
“You are the first generation in this land to inherit more than just hardened attitudes, but a just and hard-earned peace.”
“Belfast is a different city. Once-abandoned factories are rebuilt. Former industrial sites are reborn. Visitors come from all over to see an exhibit at the MAC, a play at the Lyric, or a concert here at Waterfront Hall,”
“Families crowd into pubs in the Cathedral Quarter to hear “trad”. Students lounge at cafés, asking each other, “What’s the craic?” (That made me chuckle :lol: )
“It has been 15 years since the Good Friday Agreement; since clenched fists gave way to outstretched hands; since the people of this island voted in overwhelming numbers to see past the scars of violence and mistrust, and choose to wage peace,”
“But as all of you know well, for all the strides you’ve made, there’s still much work to do. There are still people who haven’t reaped the rewards of peace; who aren’t convinced that the effort is worth it,”
There are still wounds that haven’t healed, and communities where tension and mistrust hangs in the air. There are walls that still stand; there are still many miles to go.”
“But that doesn’t mean our efforts to forge a real and lasting peace must come dropping slow. This work is as urgent now as it has ever been,”
Mr Obama says there are people living in conflict areas of the world who are looking to the Irish peace process for hope and inspiration. “You are their blueprint to follow. You are their proof of what’s possible. Hope is contagious, they are watching to see what you do next.”