Monday 23 October 2017

How it took years of painstaking research to get a bowl of the 'true shamrock' to White House

Enda Kenny presents a bowl of shamrock to Barack Obama in 2013. Photo: Leslie E. Kossoff/LK Photos
Enda Kenny presents a bowl of shamrock to Barack Obama in 2013. Photo: Leslie E. Kossoff/LK Photos

Joe Kennedy

Wearers of real shamrock, with some specks of soil for provenance, are as scarce on the street as were foreheads smudged in Lenten ash a fortnight ago.

Who remembers when Bertie Ahern was a highly visible exception on the holy day, in dusty camouflage when the weeks of prayer and fasting began? Lent continues for another while but this week and last, little pots of shamrock were on counters in Tesco and other outlets so there is no excuse for not showing a touch of the real green today.

I remember my youth when, wrapped in a damp envelope within a 'Drogheda Independent', a bunch of fresh greenery from home would drop through my London letterbox to be worn boldly on the Underground. Some people stared at the buttonhole. Others smiled. It was St Patrick's Day after all.

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