'Thrilled' Barack Obama returns to his Irish roots

'Thrilled' Barack Obama returns to his Irish roots

"We are thrilled to be here," President Barack Obama said as he greeted Ireland's president Mary McAleese on Monday.

Despite the grey skies looming over the Emerald Isle, the 49-year-old added: "The sun's coming out – I can feel it.".

First Lady Michelle Obama accompanied her husband for the trip to Ireland which saw him return to his ancestral home.

Barack visited the village of Moneygall, where his maternal great-great-great-grandfather was born, and was welcomed by 3,000 people.

He also met a distant cousin, whom he greeted with a big hug. 

Earlier in the day, he held private talks in the drawing room of the Aras with the Irish Prime Minister, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, before posing with a hurling stick he received as a present (pictured).

This seven-day trip will also see the couple visit Britain, Poland and France.

Photo: © Getty

Monday May 23, 2011

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