US presidents feel pinch on St Patrick's Day
THE recession has ended the State's annual splurge on a Shamrock Bowl for the President of the United States every St Patrick's Day.
The traditional handover of the bowl by the Taoiseach forms the centre-piece of the celebrations every year at the White House.
But the spend on the ornate gift has dropped to less than half of what the State spent on the bowl in March 2008 – months before the State's finances went off a cliff.
Overall, some €4,323 was spent on 11 different Shamrock Bowls presented to George W Bush and Barack Obama between 2003 and 2013.
However, the most popular choice of gift for any head of state visiting Ireland is a piece of Waterford Crystal. These ornate pieces have changed hands on more than 50 separate occasions, between 2003 and 2013.