• peter.okeefe@cmi-virginia.com

McAuliffe hoists a pint on St. Patrick’s Day

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McAuliffe hoists a pint on St. Patrick’s Day

You’re not going to find green beer at Rosie Connolly’s in Shockoe Bottom. The Irish-owned pub and restaurant, established in 2004, is the real deal in Richmond.

But on Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day, you could find Gov. Terry McAuliffe, along with several high-level staffers, quaffing a late afternoon pint to honor Ireland’s patron saint.

“Cheers, everybody!” the governor said to the crowd, which, like him, was wearin’ some green and drinking some Guinness.

Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney, an honorary Irishman, and Communications Director Brian Coy rounded out the governor’s merry band, in addition to longtime McAuliffe friend and politico Peter O’Keefe.

They were accompanied by the hard-luck Virginia State Police Executive Protection Unit — who had to watch dry-mouthed while everyone around them wet their whistle.

McAuliffe, whose family roots trace to County Cork, was treated to a performance outside the pub by the Metro Richmond Police Emerald Society and the Richmond Pipes & Drums bands.

And when the whine of the pipes had waned, he stepped inside the woody and lively establishment to share the gift of gab — and iPhone photos — with pub patrons.

Buoyed by his rhetorical success at the Gridiron Club dinner in Washington last weekend, the governor was in full Blarney mode, glad-handing and back-slapping bar patrons, and even stepping behind the rail to learn the art of dispensing a proper pint from pub owner Tommy Goulding.

Legend says that in the 5th century, St. Patrick chased the snakes out of Ireland. But on Tuesday, McAuliffe spun a different tale — how he has brought a pot o’ gold to the commonwealth in the form of economic investment.

After an hour it was time for the governor to head back to the Capitol, to contend with both.

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jnolan@timesdispatch.com
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