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CNN election star John King speaks of pride at being '100% Irish'

TG4 mocked up a still of CNN correspondent John King reading the weather to reflect his popularity in Ireland

AN Irish-American journalist who became one of the unlikely stars of the US election has said he is looking forward to visiting Ireland as soon as he can.

John King, CNN's chief national correspondent, was a near-constant presence on television screens as votes were counted and gained admirers around the world for his encyclopaedic knowledge.

The 59-year-old, who has covered nine presidential campaigns, fronted the broadcaster's ‘magic wall' - a large interactive touchscreen which showed the most up-to-date results.

He told RTE Radio 1's Sunday with Miriam show yesterday how he had experienced a "crazy election week" and had survived on little sleep.

“It was exciting, it was exhausting, it was exhilarating, it was unprecedented,” he said.

Mr King, who is one of seven siblings, grew up in Boston but describes himself as "100% Irish".

His grandfather Christopher 'Festy' King, who died when he was was five, was from Dún Locháin, Co Galway.

His grandmother Bridget Joyce was also from Connemara.

"Actually the most heart-warming thing for me of this whole experience... is just stirring up memories of the family and conversations with different cousins who are all around the world," he said.

He also credits the nuns at St Mark's school and Boston Latin school for encouraging his love of mathematics.

“I grew up in a great Irish Catholic neighbourhood in Boston in Dorchester," he said.

"The nuns, they were tough on me."

He added: "You grumble about it at the time and the later in life you realise it was worth it."

The broadcaster said he had visited Ireland several times, including during President Bill Clinton's trips, but he had never been as a tourist.

He said he was looking forward to visiting his cousin Jacqueline Kenny in Co Galway as soon as possible and having a pint at Keogh's pub in Ballyconneely.

"I would like to come and I'd like to tell the bar-keeper right now there'd better be more than one pint. I get thirsty," he joked.

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