Two BIFFOs Celebrate St. Paddy’s Day


Given that today is St. Paddy’s Day, I thought I would remind you all of the cutting edge journalism I provided last May when I reported from the home of Barack Obama’s Irish forebears, Moneygall, County Offaly. (Obama’s hometown paper is just now catching up and they don’t even have such a swell photo, taken by my father-in-law with the bustling metropolis of Moneygall in the background.)

As I reported then, Offaly is not only mr. emptywheel’s home county, but also the home of Ireland’s Taoiseach (pronounced "Tea-shack"), Brian Cowen. 

There’s a slur used for Offaly men in Ireland (Cowen is, as I understand it, sort of proud of it): BIFFO, or, "Big Ignorant Fucker from Offaly). 

As luck would have it, the BIFFOs running both countries of which I am a citizen got together today and–just now catching up the cutting edge reporting I did last May–they spoke of their mutual ties to Offaly.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Hello, everybody. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

I just want to say that we are incredibly honored to have the Taoiseach here, and his entire team. This is an affirmation of one of the strongest bonds between peoples that exist in the world. You know, when you think about the history of Ireland and the enormous impact it has had on our own history, and the fact that you’ve had people from Ireland who have shed blood on behalf of this country’s independence and its freedom, that it has had probably as much impact on our culture and our traditions as any country on earth.

The bond and the friendship that is felt between the United States and Ireland is something that I think everybody understands, but as the Taoiseach just mentioned, we can’t take for granted and we have to continually build upon.

And so this visit gives us an opportunity to talk about some of the very important bilateral issues that we face; also to talk about some of the global issues that both the United States and Ireland want to take leadership in. We are grateful for the lasting friendship that exists between us.

I, personally, take great interest on St. Patrick’s Day because, as some of you know, my mother’s family can be traced back to Ireland — and it turns out that I think our first Irish ancestor came from the same county that Taoiseach once represented. So we may be cousins — (laughter) — we haven’t sorted that through yet. But even if by blood we’re not related, by culture and affinity, by friendship and mutual interest, we are certainly related. And this gives us an opportunity to just continue to strengthen the incredible bonds that we have between the two countries.

So thank you so much.

Q Will you visit — President, will you visit —


TAOISEACH COWEN: Can I first of all thank President Obama and Secretary of State and all his team for the wonderful welcome here to the White House. As President Obama has said, it’s a great tradition here in the United States for a warm welcome for Ireland, and we deeply appreciate that welcome. And as I said, in area of contribution, since I came to America over this weekend, this relationship is based on substance, it’s based on a very engaged America working with a contemporary, modern Ireland, helping to shape our history at home and helping us to contribute so much more by reason of our unity of purpose and our common values. And it is a great day for the Irish in America today, and I’m very conscious of that.

More than 44 million of our 70 million diasporas of the world are residing in the United States of America. And all of us, my own family, have reason to be very grateful to this country. After all, it’s gone down the generations further as we’ve progressed — and thankfully go home and marry childhood sweethearts and end up with Taoiseachs coming over here to meet a man whose forebears, as he said, was in my electoral district (inaudible). But since we’re not related — before coming to Ireland, the only thing I can say to him is he’s not going to share a slate with me over there, because I can’t compete with this man even in Ireland. (Laughter.) Because he would be very, very welcome.

And we look forward to an excellent discussion, as I said, on issues of mutual interest. And we are deeply grateful and appreciative of the wonderful access that our country is accorded on this great day for Ireland. And he reminds us, of course, that we are not simply an island nation, but a disperse global family — and nowhere is that more celebrated than is this great country.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Just one last point that I would like to make, and that is although I think it’s wonderful that he visited the Oval Office and Washington, what you’re really missing out on is the South Side Irish Parade in Chicago — (laughter) —

To all the BIFFOs and other Irish at heart, I offer you my new favorite St. Paddy’s Day greeting: May you be graced with trolls who will help you find the only Beamish on tap in Boston.

31 replies
  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Everybody’s Irish in America on St. Patty’s Day.

    And may you all never be so full of Guinness that you can’t hold onto a blade of grass and not fall off the end of the earth.

  2. KiwiJackson says:

    That’s one fine photograph. To you and the mister and all friends herein, saol fada chugat. The boys and I are going to Molly Malone’s on Fairfax after work tonight, they should have quite the crowd. No Guinness today for me earl, Molly’s makes the best Irish coffee in this town.

  3. wavpeac says:

    In honor of St. Patty’s day and the Biffo’s…

    One of my favorite songs…with the beautiful harmonies and some particularly violent lyrics. This is “A Traditional Irish Folks Song” by Denis Leary.

    Happy St Pats…and it’s after noon in the midwest…lift those glasses…as ye sing along!

    My maiden name was Hanrahan…we dropped the O…O’Hanrahan originally. And my mom’s maiden name was Lynch…a large royal clan from Dublin.

  4. randiego says:

    Happy St.Patty’s Day, EW and all. I’m glad you brought the photo back out!

    I have some friends that are in Boston for the event… I am getting text message updates of their activities.

    me, I’ll be staying in tonight. It will be Amateur Hour at all the local establishments and I’d rather have a hot poker shoved in my eye than deal with that…

  5. wavpeac says:

    that’s should be “you” not “ye”. I was not attempting auld english…just a slip of the keys.

  6. Rayne says:

    A second time in a lifetime I’ve had to explain to one of the boy-children in our family the importance of the Irish to our family and country. I remember having a lengthy battle with my stepson when he was 14 years old about the necessity of his term paper on the Irish; he thought it was a waste of time not realizing the impact of the Irish on America, the names Reagan and Kennedy meaning nothing to him.

    This morning my 11 year old asked me why we HAD TO wear green today. Made me laugh, because nobody in our household had even mentioned wearing green. We talked about his diverse roots, which includes a great-great-great-(great?)grandmother Cavanagh on my side of the family, who hailed from County Cork, the Irish on his father’s side of the family, and the 23 presidents of the U.S. who were of Irish heritage. Nobody’s making you wear green, I said, but there’s five to seven times more people of Irish descent here in the U.S. than there are in Ireland, and today’s the day we remember heritage of so many of our fellow Americans including ourselves.

    Surprised he didn’t ask me when we’re observing a French or German day…Sláinte mhath to all.

  7. PJEvans says:

    I remember reading about a village in Mexico where most of the inhabitants are descended from Irish soldiers who deserted the US army in the late 1840s, finding the culture in Mexico much friendlier to them. So they celebrate St Paddy’s day, too.

    (There’s a parade in downtown LA this noon, from City Hall to Pershing Square, ending by passing under an arch formed by ladders from two large firetrucks.)


  8. Minnesotachuck says:

    I’ve got to find this Beamish stuff. Maybe there’s even somewhere here in the Twin Cities that sells it!

    And a Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you and Mr. EW, Marcy. As for me, I’m part Irish by marriage.

    • freepatriot says:

      as trolls go, you’re a fucking joke

      you’ve got people reminiscing about trolls past

      it’s an embarrassment to have you in my cage

      if you think you’re gonna somehow become friends with the people around here, forget it


      now start posting your jibberish, like you used to do, when you got tossed into my cage, and stop embarrassing yourself and me

      you wanted to be a troll, so you got your wish, now you’re mine

      troll it up, douchwad, and stop making people nostalgic

      I’d like to apologize to the site for the poor performance of my current troll, the fucking thing seems to have become attached to the crowd around here. I guess I ain’t abusing it enough, or maybe it just isn’t dumb enough or morally deprived enough to be a decent troll

      In light of my failure, I’m offering everybody a free poke of the troll

      grab yer sticks and let him have it

  9. *ilbo says:

    Yesterday I talked to my cousin who’s 1/2 Irish and 1/2 Finn. Ouch! I was wishing him a happy St. Erho’s Day and ‘completely’ forgot to include todays green celebration. Blueberrys in my morning cereal is all I can really celebrate with being on the wagon for 6 years(Finns are sorry drinkers). I’ll raise a glass of Lemonade to you today in gratitude for past and continued excellence in the tubes. Keep on keepin’ on in good health and fortune.

  10. freepatriot says:

    Okay, I unnerstand that the people in the picture are not residents

    how many of the bushes in the picture are actual residents ???

    and are any of them related to Ireland’s Taoiseach

    and are there any villages for humans ???


    and this Irish Whiskey ain’t so bad …

  11. jackie says:

    ‘May you be graced with trolls who will help you find the only Beamish on tap in Boston.’

    That is just lovely!
    For a troll, Jody had a certain

  12. JohnLopresti says:

    My musician granddaddy used to consult with me during my formal studies of musicology, to provide ways to widen his repertoire. This was a Sicilian elder; so I taught him a simple song about Irish Eyes smiling, which had a nice north central European ring in a 3/4 meter; but his kinfolk thought he was a sellout whenever he sang it. I should have taken the blame, poor old uneducated musician that he was; how could he span the gaps of ethnicity. I am puzzling still thru the reasons why the Scottish, Irish and other ancestors in the other side of our family remained so enduringly silent through that upbringing; some of them even lived above the MasonDixon line.

  13. momaloney39 says:

    EW..would that Bar be over in the Broadway area?? Or the streets close by??
    They probably cleaned out all the Beamish on Sunday with the parade and all.
    The boys had a “roast” with some funny comments about Mayor Memino, Yoon(?) and Cahill on who would be trying to replace the Honorable Memino!! It is now being televised live from Southie…It’s a great day for laughs!! The green beer was flowing down Broadway most of the day! Tis great to live in
    the Irish Annex of Boston!!


  14. Rayne says:

    The spouse sent a joke for St. Patrick’s Day (I’m hoping he’s not swilling the dregs of green beer right now while on his business trip):

    An Irishman moved into a tiny hamlet in County Kerry, walks into the pub and promptly ordered three beers. The bartender raises his eyebrows, but serves the man three beers, which he drinks quietly at a table, alone. An hour later, the man has finished the three beers and orders three more. This happens yet again. The next evening the man again orders and drinks three beers at a time, several times. Soon the entire town is whispering about the Man Who Orders Three Beers.

    Finally, a week later, the bartender broaches the subject on behalf of the town.”I don’t mean to pry, but folks around here are wondering why you always order three beers?”

    “Tis odd, isn’t it?” the man replies. “You see, I have two brothers, and one went to America, and the other to Australia. We promised each other that we would always order an extra two beers whenever we drank as a way of keeping up the family bond.”

    The bartender and the whole town were pleased with this answer, and soon the Man Who Orders Three Beers became a local celebrity and source of pride to the hamlet, even to the extent that out-of-towners would come to watch him drink. Then, one day, the man comes in and orders only two beers. The bartender pours them with a heavy heart. This continues for the rest of the evening. He orders only two beers. The word flies around town. Prayers are offered for the soul of one of the brothers. The next day, the bartender says to the man, “Folks around here, me first of all, want to offer condolences to you for the death of your brother. You know-the two beers and all.

    The man ponders this for a moment, then replies,”You’ll be happy to hear that my two brothers are alive and well. It’s just that I, meself, have decided to give up drinking for Lent.”

    Wishing you folks clear heads in the morning, or an Irish coffee to wash down the aspirins.

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