Obama gets hearty Irish 'homecoming'

2011-05-23 16:21
US President Barack Obama gives a wave beside Ireland's President Mary McAleese at the Presidential Residence in Dublin. (AP)

US President Barack Obama gives a wave beside Ireland's President Mary McAleese at the Presidential Residence in Dublin. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Dublin - US President Barack Obama flew into Ireland on Monday to celebrate a portion of his exotic ancestry and to administer a jolt of confidence to a nation traversing a "hard road" out of a deep economic hole.

Obama and his wife Michelle landed aboard Air Force One as wind and rain whipped across Dublin airport, launching his most comprehensive European tour in two years, which also takes in Britain, the G8 summit in France and Poland.

"It is heart-warming to be here," said Obama, quipping that arrangements had been made for the sun to come out as he came into land.

The highlight of the overnight Ireland stay was a pilgrimage by the Hawaii-born son of a Kenyan father and white American mother to the tiny village of Moneygall, home of Obama's great-great-great grandfather.

Eighth-cousin buzzing with excitement


The 350-odd residents of Moneygall in County Offaly, which has just a few shops and two pubs, have been looking forward to the US leader's visit - expected to last just an hour -- for months.

Obama's eighth cousin, 26-year-old accountant Henry Healy, was buzzing with excitement.

"This is going to be one of the most historic days we have ever seen," he told AFP.

After meeting Irish President Mary McAleese and Prime Minister Enda Kenny, Obama hailed last week's visit to Ireland by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, and said Northern Ireland's peace drive sent a "ripple of hope" around the world.

"I wanted to just express to the Irish people ... how inspired we have been by the progress that has been made in Northern Ireland," Obama said.

"It speaks to the possibility of peace and people in longstanding struggles being able to re-imagine their relationships.

"To see Her Majesty the Queen of England come here ... sends a signal, not just in England, not just here in Ireland, but around the world."

Street party

The queen last week laid historic enmities to rest with the first trip to the Irish Republic by a British sovereign since independence in 1922.

The president was also due to deliver one of his trademark emotive speeches to thousands of Dubliners in a high-security outdoor event from the steps of the Bank of Ireland, against a backdrop of the famed Trinity College.

A crowd of 20 000 was expected at a vast street party boasting acts including Westlife, the Sawdoctors and Irish Eurovision stars Jedward among the performers.

Actor Daniel Day-Lewis, Ireland rugby star Brian O'Driscoll and football hero Robbie Keane were also to appear.

Obama earlier told Kenny he was pleased with the progress Ireland was making after an economic meltdown that necessitated an International Monetary Fund and European Union bailout.

"It is a hard road, but it's one that the Irish people are more than up to the task to achieve," he said.

"We are rooting for Ireland's success and we will do everything we can to help them on the path to recovery."

Saying it in song

The president's visit will also take him on a state visit to Britain, the G8 summit in France and to Poland, with a heavy focus on Afghanistan, the Nato operation on Libya and the debate over the next chief of the IMF.

Obama's great-great-great grandfather on his mother's side Falmouth Kearney, the 19-year-old son of a shoemaker, emigrated more than 160 years ago, arriving in New York in search of a better life.

Parts of the Kearney house are still standing, while an upper floor has been added on the pebble-dashed, two-bedroomed home.

A song celebrating Obama's distant Irish heritage is also doing the rounds.

"O Leary, O'Reilly, O'Hare and O'Hara, There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama," goes the ditty by the Corrigan Brothers.

"He's as Irish as bacon and cabbage and stew. He's Hawaiian, he's Kenyan, American too," it goes on.
Read more on:    barack obama  |  ireland  |  us
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
5 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!

Find out who and what South Africans were most curious about in 2014!

 
 

I love summer.24

This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem
The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!
LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal with....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.