EMMETSBURG — A member of the Irish parliament spent the weekend in northwest Iowa. For the first time since the pandemic, Emmetsburg resumed its tradition of having an Irish politician as a guest at the city’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

Paul Daly is one of 60 Irish senators. He’s from the town of Kilbeggan, about 55 miles west of Dublin. “All I wanted to do was be a farmer, but my parents quite rightly decided there was no future for me there at that particular point in time,” he says. “I would be working to educate and support my six siblings who were coming up behind me, so I think there was a plan hatched up somewhere along the line between the career guidance person in the school and my parents that I would become a teacher.”

Daly became an engineering teacher and he farmed as well. Daly served on a council in Ireland for eight years until he was elected to the Ireland’s senate in 2016. He says the Iowa landscape has impressed him.

“Just a vast, vast, vast amount of relatively flat, what seems like very rich soil,” he says. “We’d die for that in Ireland.”

Daly owns thoroughbred race horses and is chairman of the racecourse in his home area.