Jerry Brown, Governor of California, recently visited Glenstal Abbey in County Limerick during a two week holiday in Ireland and Germany.
While the trip was a personal one he did meet with Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore before returning to America at the weekend.
“We like to go back and connect the dots,” Governor Brown told The Sacramento Bee newspaper.
His great-grandfathers came from Tipperary during the famine and Germany. It is understood he met with relatives.
Mr Brown was joined by his wife Anne Gust Brown; his sister Kathleen Brown, California’s former state treasurer and her husband Van Gordon Sauter – president of CBS News and Fox News for 20 years.
Abbot of Glenstal, Mark Patrick Hederman said the trip to Murroe on July 17 was not pre-planned.
“It was a hunch on his part and was to do with hearing Gregorian chant performed live somewhere near.
“The visit was first of all about himself and his own roots but it also had to do with Ireland and we would do well to read the symbolism of his time here.
“One of the secrets to understanding him is his Jesuit education.
Not only was he at school with the Jesuits but he became a Jesuit himself for six years before leaving the seminary and becoming Governor of California for the first time from 1975 to 1983,” said Br Hederman.
The party of four spent four hours in the Benedictine monastery. They went to Mass, enjoyed lunch before visiting the library and icon chapel in the crypt of the church.
Br Hederman showed him the Orthodox icons and the special collection in the library.
The abbot says his high powered guest was particularly interested in the limited and numbered edition of the works of Alexander Hamilton.