St. Patrick’s Day
A luncheon in honor of the Irish holiday
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner hosted President Barack Obama and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny at the Capitol on Friday for a St. Patrick’s Day lunch—a tradition that goes back 30 years.
In 1983, then-Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill hosted the first Friends of Ireland luncheon, inviting President Ronald Reagan and other members of Congress to join him for a bipartisan meal.
Thus began an annual tradition. But it wasn’t the first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the Capitol. In 1884, lawmakers wore green ribbons—distributed by then-Rep. John O’Neill—in honor of the Irish holiday, according to the History, Art & Archives website.
The speaker’s website has a slide show of photos from the past St. Patrick’s Day luncheons.