President Barack Obama opened his four-nation, six-day tour through Europe with a stop in Ireland on Monday. There, he downed a pint of Guinness, traversed to the tiny town of Moneygall to meet distant relatives, and spoke to an estimated cheering crowd of 25,000 in Dublin.

Obama praised the centuries-old relationship between Ireland and America, and said his visit was meant “to reaffirm those bonds of affection.

But potential complications resulting from volcanic ash spreading from a volcano in Iceland forced the president to depart Ireland a day earlier than scheduled. He arrived in England, the next leg of his European tour, on Monday night, where he and first lady Michelle Obama are staying at Buckingham Palace as guests of Queen Elizabeth.

President Obama is also scheduled to go to France for the Group of 8 summit, and a final stop in Poland for a meeting with Central European leaders.