Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Toasts of the President and President O'Kelly of Ireland at a Luncheon for President Eisenhower.

March 19, 1959

Mr. President, Mrs. O'Kelly, Your Excellency the Archbishop, Distinguished Guests and Friends:

I think each of us can sense something of the spirit of warm friendship that has been brought to our people during these two or three days by the President of Ireland and his lovely lady.

We thank Ireland for sending him over here. We thank them for coming.

This spirit--this changed spirit in Washington that I sense so keenly-is reflected even among ourselves. It seems to me I am getting more smiles from the Democrats than I have had in a long time. And certainly I feel more kindly to everybody in the city because of having met you, President O'Kelly.

I think it is well that it is so. In the years that stretch out ahead of us, we must be friendly among ourselves. We must be close to our good friends--and Ireland is among the front rank of our good friends. We must have faith in ourselves. We must have faith in each other--and faith in our God.

These are the sentiments that I have been listening to from our friend, the President, for these past two or three days. I have had an uplift of spirit because of the things I have heard during this visit.

So it is with extraordinary pleasure and satisfaction that I ask you all to stand to drink with me the health of the Irish people--and, above all, to their President and his lady.

Note: This toast was proposed in response to a toast by President O'Kelly at a luncheon which he gave in honor of President Eisenhower at the Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C. In his opening words the President referred to the Most Reverend Patrick A. O'Boyle, Archbishop of Washington.

The toast proposed by President O'Kelly follows:
Mr. President, Mrs. Eisenhower, Mr. Speaker, Your Excellency the Archbishop, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I know how busy your President is, and though I would like to spend some time repeating again for you the things you have heard many times of the excellencies associated with and incorporated in your President, I must refrain.

I do want, though, just before I leave Washington, to express again my most profound gratitude to you, Mr. President, and to you, Madam, and to all the people of Washington, D.C., for the warmth, the overwhelming warmth of the welcome the President of Ireland has received since his coming here.

It has been something that I could never have dreamed could have happened--that's the truth.

The warmth of feeling exhibited here for Ireland--I couldn't take it all for myself, though I would like to, as if it were meant for me--but it was meant for Ireland, and that's the same thing.

And then, that gracious, noble gesture of the President at the airport the other day, describing himself as--for Patrick's Day--my subject, that will never be forgotten in Ireland's history.

So, I am profoundly grateful, in Ireland's name.

I pray God to give you strength and power and health and happiness and prosperity. To you, your good lady, and your great people--on whom so much depends today, God be with you always.

I would ask you, ladies and gentlemen, to join with me in drinking the health of the President of the United States.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Toasts of the President and President O'Kelly of Ireland at a Luncheon for President Eisenhower. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/235350

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