The former primary school teacher has led the center-right Fine Gael party to a historic victory, on course for 75 plus seats and replacing the once dominant Fianna Fail party as the largest group in Ireland's parliament.
Yet at the start of the election campaign, many within his own ranks feared the father of three was a liability who would jeopardize key seats everytime TV cameras shone on him.
After decades of Fianna Fail ( Irish equivalent of the American DNC) governance, Enda Kenny of County Mayo and Fine Gael ( Irish GOP) has been swept into leadership of the toothless and de-clawed Celtic Tiger.
Voters' perception of any new leader almost always improves once they become prime minister and Kenny has so far struck the right notes.
His victory speech on Saturday night was measured rather than triumphalist and in his first major media interview after his win he struck a serious tone, warning people that there would be tough times ahead.
Kenny, whose only government experience in over 35 years in parliament was as minister for tourism and trade between 1994 and 1997, is also fortunate to be starting off from a relatively weak base.
Ireland has been all but mortgaged to European Union. Ireland is as bankrupt as Progressives seem to want America to be. Enda Kenny, a County Mayo Mountain Man, is married to a woman from the equally mountainous County Kerry, father of three,a former school teacher and a team player.
Here in America, many second and third generation Irish Americans, come from Irish Civil War (Irish: Cogadh Cathartha na hÉireann; 28 June 1922 – 24 May 1923) stock - Up Dev! Irish Republicans from Kerry, Cork, Galway, Mayo and Clare. My grandfather, who came to America in 1912, was a Big Jim Larkin, James Connolly Labor Man, who had earned his labor chops on the Liverpool docks, after leaving Castleisland, Co. Kerry, before coming to Chicago's stockyards. He was growing a huge family in Chicago and fighting to organize the Engineers Union, during The Troubles ( 1916-'21) and during the Civil War in Ireland. Lawrence Hickey was a De Valara Republican, as were most Chicago Irish and opposed to the Treaty for the Irish Free State led by Michael Collins -founder of Fine Gael.
During and after the Irish Civil War many, many Irish Republicans escaped death or imprisonment at the hands of Free Staters. The south side of Chicago became loaded with tough Clare, Kerry, Galway, and Mayo men with those dangerous 'dead eyes.' They had killed Brits, Free Staters and Informers. They became Chicago tradesmen, police and firemen, streetcar drivers, People Gas diggers, and proud Americans, after fourteen years of course. They were hotly Fianna Fail sympathizers and imparted that brand of Irish Republicanism that was reflected in the Aran Sweater, Clancy Brother prejudices of their children who voted Democrat.
Fianna Fail's leadership of Ireland has been a disaster. Now, a Mayo man named for a 6th Century Warrior Prince from Galway, who became one of Ireland's greatest monastic saints and mentor to Brendan the Navigator and the peregrine apostles of Ireland who preserved the Christian Faith in Europe during the Dark Ages ( Sts. Finnian,Columba,Ciarran, Jarlath of Tuam), will become the first Culchie* (red-neck) Prime Minister.
The Republican Culchies always followed the big City Dublin, Cork or the more genteel eastern Irish county leaders. Eamon De Valara was a Yank born in New York **whose dad was a Cuban. MSNBC would call Enda Kenny, one of the Tea-bagging, Bible and gun clutchers.
Therefore, Enda Kenny is the First Culchie. Perhaps, the wild bog man will pull the Irish economy out of the bog.
The term is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as "One who lives in, or comes from, a rural area; a (simple) countryman (or woman), a provincial, a rustic", a word derived from the remote town of Coillte Mach, County Mayo. Another possible derivation is from the Irish coillte meaning "the wood/forest", to describe people who lived in the woods. A further, simpler, explanation is that the word derives from the word agriCULTURE, highlighting the industrial/agricultural divide between rural and urban populations.
Another potential derivation is an old Gaelic term "cúl na tí", meaning the back of the house. It was, and still is to a certain extent, common practice in rural areas to enter a neighbour's house through the back door, rather than the front (which is for more formal visits). Thus the term cúl na tí or culchie was applied to these people. Also, many city dwellers from Dublin tenements had to work as servants. The servants were not permitted to enter the house from the front but had to use the back door or servants entrance. It became common practice in Dublin to use the term in a derogatory manner. Over time as the numbers of servants dwindled away the term was still kept in everyday use to this very day.
No. Name Entered Office Left Office Party
1. Cathal Brugha 21 January 1919 1 April 1919 Sinn Féin
2. Éamon de Valera
(1st time) 1 April 1919 9 January 1922 Sinn Féin
3. Arthur Griffith 10 January 1922 12 August 1922 Sinn Féin (Pro-Treaty faction)
4. Michael Collins 16 January 1922 22 August 1922 Sinn Féin (Pro-Treaty faction)
5. W. T. Cosgrave 22 August 1922 9 March 1932 Cumann na nGaedheal
Éamon de Valera
(2nd time) 9 March 1932 18 February 1948 Fianna Fáil
6. John A. Costello
(1st time) 18 February 1948 13 June 1951 Fine Gael
Éamon de Valera
(3rd time) 13 June 1951 2 June 1954 Fianna Fáil
John A. Costello
(2nd time) 2 June 1954 20 March 1957 Fine Gael
Éamon de Valera
(4th time) 20 March 1957 23 June 1959 Fianna Fáil
7. Seán Lemass 23 June 1959 10 November 1966 Fianna Fáil
8. Jack Lynch
(1st time) 10 November 1966 14 March 1973 Fianna Fáil
9. Liam Cosgrave 14 March 1973 5 July 1977 Fine Gael
(2nd time) 5 July 1977 11 December 1979 Fianna Fáil
10. Charles Haughey
(1st time) 11 December 1979 30 June 1981 Fianna Fáil
11. Garret FitzGerald
(1st time) 30 June 1981 9 March 1982 Fine Gael
(2nd time) 9 March 1982 14 December 1982 Fianna Fáil
(2nd time) 14 December 1982 10 March 1987 Fine Gael
(3rd time) 10 March 1987 11 February 1992 Fianna Fáil
12. Albert Reynolds 11 February 1992 15 December 1994 Fianna Fáil
13. John Bruton 15 December 1994 26 June 1997 Fine Gael
14. Bertie Ahern 26 June 1997 6 May 2008 Fianna Fáil
15. Brian Cowen 7 May 2008 Incumbent Fianna Fáil