Life St Patrick's Day

Wednesday 17 September 2014

'Enda Kelly' drives college MC around the Bend

Fiach Kelly in South Bend, Indiana

Published 19/03/2012 | 05:00

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"Please welcome the Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kelly." Excuse me?

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Ah well, easy slip of the tongue for the MC at a small St Patrick Day dinner at the home of the 'Fighting Irish', Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana.

But the next bigwig to speak still didn't nail it, calling the Taoiseach "Edna Kenny".

Perhaps the ' New York Times' is the favoured newspaper in Notre Dame. It also called the Taoiseach 'Edna' after last year's general election, only to later clarify: " Enda Kenny is a male".

Indeed he is, and he was in Notre Dame to promote that most manly of pursuits -- a gridiron football game, and to honour 94-year-old Fr Ted Hesburgh, who was the college president for 35 years.

Notre Dame play rivals Navy in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin in September, and organisers say between 25,000 and 30,000 tickets for the match have been sold in the US already.

Mr Kenny earlier led the Chicago parade -- watched by a crowd of 350,000 -- with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other shillelagh-wielding politicos.

As the sun belted down, with record-breaking March temperatures of 28 degrees, the Taoiseach was in flying form, boasting that Mr Emanuel had accepted his invitation to visit Ireland. "My message to all those green shirts that I see in front of me here is that our country is on the way back," he thundered to much applause.

"Come visit us in 2013 when we have the year of 'The Gathering' and we will give you a quality experience that you will never forget. In fact, you might never want to come back to Chicago."

Clearly, judging by the smile on the Taoiseach's face, he'd come back to Chicago anytime.

Or the White House, where he lands tomorrow for the big gig with President Obama.

Irish Independent

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