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Remember that time you struggled to recognise someone you knew simply because you saw them in a different setting?

Change the location you're used to seeing them, and you may as well change their entire identity such is the struggle to quickly identify them.

So, we're totally with Irish J1 student, Emma Kelly, who recently served Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in a Chicago restaurant, and failed to recognise him.

Taking to Twitter to admit to her faux pas, Emma tweeted: "Leo varadkar comes into our restaurant in Chicago, first I ask is he Irish then I put him on a wait list and then I put him at a tiny table"

It turns out it took a colleague telling Emma that she was interacting with her nation's leader for the penny to drop, and Emma wasted no time holding her hands up and admitting her mistake.

"Honestly, what is wrong with me?" she asked. "I'm a public disgrace."

Thankfully, good Ol' Leo took it on the chin and posed alongside Emma and her colleague in a snap, which Emma captioned: "Painfully awkward pic of us and Leo when I realised it was the Taoiseach."

Not only was Leo happy to stall for a snap, but he even tweeted Emma in the aftermath, saying: "Thanks Emma. The food & service was gr8. Enjoy the rest of your J1."

Emma's story has, unsurprisingly, amassed serious interest online, with thousands of likes and retweets since she shared it on Sunday night.

And if she's concerned that her faux pas may count against her in the future, a Dublin eatery even got in touch and offered her a job when she returns to the Irish capital.

O'Connells Restaurant in Donnybrook responded to Emma's self-deprecating tweets, writing: "Hey Emma, it happens! If on J1, when back drop in to us – happy to offer you a job . Great reaction – once u realised, u played a stormer."

Emma, never change.


The department of Foreign Affairs have been made aware of an incident involving the hospitalisation of an Irish student in the United States this week.

According to emerging reports, the 22-year-old man, who travelled to the States on a J1 visa this summer, got into difficulty while swimming with three other people in the popular holiday resort of Ocean City in Maryland.

It has been established that a recent storm effected the sea's condition.

It is understood that one of the four people involved managed to make it to shore and raise the alarm at approximately 06.30 before two rescue swimmers helped two of the party out of the water.

Tragically, the fourth member of the party suffered a cardiac arrest during the final rescue attempt and was immediately transferred to Atlantic General Hospital.

It is understood that he is currently in a very serious condition in hospital.



If you lived it up in the States on a J1 visa over the last four years, you may be in for a bit of a windfall.

According to tax specialists, Taxback, up to 2,000 students across Ireland are entitled to tax refunds which amount to approximately $800 or €740.

Not too shabby, right?!

Commenting on the claims, spokesperson for the company, Eileen Devereux, said: “Many students struggle with the financial burden of loans, rent and tuition fees.”

“A three-figure sum like this can often go a long way to easing some of this burden,” she added.

“We process thousands of J1 tax refunds for Irish students every year and the feedback we invariably receive is that this windfall, while often unexpected, is very much needed.”

Despite the financial pressure on students nowadays, the company claims that a large proportion fail to reclaim their tax after a summer spent in the States.

“We are urging these students to take action before it’s too late – the right to claim becomes null and void after four years.”

“It’s not a difficult process and can be wrapped up in a matter of weeks,” she advised.

It has been estimated that approximately 10,000 Irish people are expected to take part in the 2017 programme.