The O’ Donnachdhas will be representing Ireland later this year in the World Karate Championships
He also briefly spoke to them about an initiative of his which he recently launched called ‘Young and Irish’ which is aimed at 17 to 26 years old and runs until September, where he is seeking to consult with the young people of Ireland regarding their vision for Ireland and what we collectively need to do to get there.
Once the formalities were over he took the time to shake hands and speak individually with each member wishing them success and offering words of encouragement. He then brought them out into the gardens where they got to pet his two Bernese mountain dogs ‘Bruno’ and ‘Shadow’. He showed them the tree that Pope John Paul II planted in 1979.
The President chatted with them and they were treated to a guided tour of the magnificent residence that is Áras an Uachtaráin. The Áras in contrast to all its splendour and opulence also has its own organic farm, chickens, and cattle.
What was meant to be a 90 minute visit turned into nearly two and a half hours. What struck the children and the adults who accompanied them was that, despite the status of his office and still maintaining the dignity of his station, the President was relaxed, funny, charming, and was a true man of the people or in the words of the youngest of the troupe Joe (age 8) the president was ‘a legend’. One could not help leaving his company with a sense of peace and optimism for the future. It truly was a day that was full of wonderful memories that will be treasured and will not be soon forgotten.