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Obama to visit Irish ancestral town

From NBC's Athena Jones
President Barack Obama
kicked off his third St. Patrick's Day at the White House with an announcement that he plans to visit Ireland in May and expects to travel to his ancestral town of Moneygall.

Obama, who made the announcement after an Oval Office meeting he and the vice president held with the new Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, said he was "very much looking forward" to the trip.

"I wanted to say today that I intend to come to Ireland in May and I'm expecting to go not only to, you know, all the famous sites, but also to go to Moneygall where my great, great, great, great, great grandfather hails from," he said.  

(Obama's Irish ancestor fled the potato famine in that country in 1850, per the AP.)

Moneygall is a small town in County Offaly, Ireland, located between Dublin and Limerick. Details on the trip are still to come, but the White House has already announced that the president will make a state visit to the United Kingdom May 24-26th and so this visit is likely to happen around then.

Prime Minister Kenny said he was "absolutely thrilled" about the president's upcoming trip, which he called a statement of confidence in the country, and told Obama he would be "rapturously recieved" by the people of Ireland.

"I hope that you will enjoy the fulfilling experience during your visit of visiting Moneygall, where some of your ancestors contributed to the welfare and the well-being of that little village right in the center of Ireland," he said. "We appreciate, for a person with so many difficulties on his plate that you have -- in a global sense -- that you take time to visit Ireland."

Kenny also offered to play a round of golf with Obama during his trip. Obama joked that he may have to practice before taking the prime minister up on that offer, since he'd heard Kenny was a "pretty good" player.