It's St. Patrick's Day weekend. This week, we've been been crafting and shipping our Shamrock Pendant to our global Irish customers all over the world. So, now it's time to begin decorating the workshop with shamrock! As well as all the amazing parades and our love for turning famous landmarks green there is another event that is synonymous with St. Patrick's Day, the shamrock ceremony in the White House.
Every year on March 17th our Taoiseach (prime minister) travels to Washington with a bowl of shamrock which is presented to the US president. I went trawling through photos to see if I could find out when this tradition started and when it became such a big white house party?! It turns out we've been sending shamrock to the White House for over 60 years!
It first began in 1952 when the Irish ambassador in Washington, John Hearne, sent a box of shamrock to president Truman. This established relations between the two countries and in 1959 Irish president Sean T O' Kelly visited the US for St. Patrick’s day. Eisenhower came to meet him at the airport and seizing the perfect photo opportunity O' Kelly pinned the shamrock to Eisenhower's lapel and so a tradition was born! Since then we've seen many US presidents embrace the visit of the Irish to present the bowl of shamrock. I haven't been able to find photos of all of them but here are just some of the many US Presidents who have celebrated St. Patrick's day with the shamrock ceremony.
Over the years the ceremony has evolved to include political issues like the Northern Ireland peace process during Clinton's presidency. And since the mid 90's it seems to have turned into the party of the year with some of the best Irish musicians and entertainers invited to the event. So there you go, a short history of the 60 years we've been delivering shamrock to America! If you want to read more about St. Patrick's Day have a look at the piece I wrote about some lesser known facts about St. Patrick. Have a great day on Sunday and enjoy the celebrations ;) Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
Click on the image to our Irish Jewelry & Shamrock necklace in our store.