“AWESOME” was the first word that sprang to mind when Irish-American businessman John Hartnett had a ‘selfie’ taken with Michelle Obama in the White House in advance of St Patrick’s day.
He and his wife Helen were among hundreds of people who watched Taoiseach Enda Kenny present the 44th president of the US with a bowl of shamrock.
The Limerick native, of the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG), also launched the new Inspiring Ireland initiative alongside Minister Jimmy Deenihan at Stanford University in California this week.
This project aims to bring Ireland’s renowned national collections to a global audience, including those from our national museums, libraries, galleries, archives and theatre.
The project is supported by an International Advisory Board, led by Mr Hartnett, which will help with technology direction and commercialisation, and encourage financial support for the project from the United States.
Minister Deenihan praised him for his “outstanding work in the United States in his role as founder and president of the ITLG together with his ongoing involvement with the American Ireland Fund. He is uniquely qualified to assist the Government with this project”.
Mr Hartnett said this project “will bring Ireland’s history and heritage into the 21st Century and will open up Ireland’s culture for creative minds”.
The 51 year-old Corbally native left Ireland in 1998 and now lives in Silicon Valley, California.