“Ireland’s youth, and those who’ve come back to build a new Ireland, are now among the best-educated, most entrepreneurial in the world. And I see those young people here today. And I know that Ireland will succeed.”
President Barack Obama, Dublin, May 23, 2011
Although, a key photo opportunity from this visit was the picture of the President of the United States with a pint in his hand in a small Irish town, it was the words he used to address the crowds in College Green, Dublin that are going to be best remembered.
Moving between good humour, pathos and inspiration, and in just under two and a half thousand words, President Obama managed to recount the history of Ireland and the fortunes of its disapora from his long distant forefather sailing for the New World driven by hope and hunger, to the healing of old wounds and the promise of a peaceful future.
But the key to a prosperous future is contained in the words quoted above. In a radio interview with Newstalk, John Hartnett from the Irish Technology Leadership Group said that this visit was the “biggest opportunity that Ireland will ever get as a showcase on the world stage in terms of what Ireland has to offer the world.
“The message that we should get out there is that, ‘We are open for business.’ We’ve got quality [and] talent here in Ireland. This is the place where the likes of Google, Intel, Apple, some of the top companies in the world have been attracted to.
“The future of Ireland is about innovation, it’s about jobs and it’s about our ability to attract the world’s best companies to Ireland… We’ve got the best talent in the world.”
As President Obama said, “This little country, that inspires the biggest things — your best days are still ahead.
“Is féidir linn. Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Is féidir linn.”
Main photo by Cian Hughes