24 May 2011

Obama receives enthusiastic Irish welcome

6:19 am on 24 May 2011

United States President Barack Obama has addressed thousands of cheering people in the Irish capital at the start of a week-long tour of Europe.

Mr Obama has used an open-air speech in Dublin's College Green to reaffirm US-Irish ties, the BBC reports.

He praised the Irish people for striving to overcome sectarian differences and financial difficulties.

Earlier, he received an enthusiastic welcome in the village of Moneygall, from where his great-great-great grandfather, a shoe-maker, left for the United States in 1850.

Crowds lined the streets in the tiny village of just 300 residents - some shouting "welcome home" to the president and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Mr Obama will also visit Britain, France, and Poland during a week-long European tour.

The White House says Mr Obama will depart Ireland for London on Monday night, a day ahead of schedule, to avoid the effects of an ash cloud from an erupting volcano in Iceland.