In a historic meeting at the White House on St. Patrick’s Day, President Joe Biden and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of Ireland discussed the strong bonds between their countries, including the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement. Varadkar, Ireland’s first gay head of government, was gifted a bowl of shamrocks, a tradition dating back to 1952. Biden even dyed the water in the South Lawn fountain green in honor of the occasion.
During the meeting, Varadkar praised the United States for its support of Ukraine after Russia’s invasion last year. He also had breakfast with Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, where he praised the U.S. for its leadership in LGBTQ+ rights.
Varadkar’s position as Taoiseach is already historic, as he is both the first person of color and the first openly gay person to hold the position. His first term began in 2017 and he was reelected in December of last year.
St. Patrick’s Day is an annual celebration at the White House, and this year included a lunch at the Capitol bringing together Democrats and Republicans. The evening saw performances by former One Direction star Niall Horan and a bagpipe performance.
The meeting between Biden and Varadkar was particularly significant for its recognition of LGBTQ+ rights, with Varadkar citing the United States’ leadership in the movement as a driving force behind his own success. The historic meeting marks a new era in the relationship between Ireland and the United States, one that is sure to continue to be marked by cooperation and mutual respect.