A Day to Remember, Obama in Ireland

The Obama's Arrive in Dublin

It was an historic day for Ireland yesterday as US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama stepped on to Irish soil and lifted Irish spirits to a new level along with Michelle’s hair.  Mr Obama and his wife were greeted by rather gusty winds as they stepped off Air Force 1 yesterday morning at Dublin Airport.  Obama and the First Lady were welcome to Ireland by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and US Ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney.  The Marine One helicopter then whisked the couple over to Áras an Uachtaráin to meet President Mary McAleese.  The Obama’s signed the visitors book at the Áras and then had a private meeting with President McAleese.  The US President then planted an upright Irish oak tree on the grounds of the Áras to add to the tree count. The President and the First Lady were then greeted by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his wife Fionnuala at Farmleigh.  Mrs Kenny and Mrs Obama took a tour of the garden while the political leaders had a private discussion.  Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he discussed a range of

President Obama Downs a Pint of Guinness in Moneygall

issues with Barack Obama including the EU/IMF bailout, last week’s visit of Queen Elizabeth II, and the use of Shannon Airport by the US military.  Mr Obama said it was ‘inspiring to see the progress that is being made in Northern Ireland.’  Enda Kenny then presented Barack Obama with a hurley outside Farmleigh with ‘Presented to Barack Obama President of the United States of America on the occasion of his first visit to Ireland, May 2011 by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D.  The hurley was made by Philip Archibold of Heritage Hurleys.  The Obama’s then paid a quick courtesy call to the US embassy in Dublin before heading down to Barack Obama’s ancestral home of Moneygall by helicopter.

President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle arrived in Moneygall to a big hug from Obama’s distant relative Henry Healy.  The Obama’s then made their way

Obama adresses the crowd at College Green in Dublin

over to the crowds in Moneygall to shake hands with them all.  Michelle Obama was overheard saying ‘My two daughters are so mad they couldn’t make it here’ and President Obama was seen lifting a baby out of the crowd and raising it aloft before handing it back.  The Obama’s went into the house which stands on the site of the old ancestral homestead.  Obama then went into An Siopa Bheag, a shop step up especially to sell Obama paraphernalia.  Obama then visited Ollie Hayes’s Pub where he signed the visitors book and took photos posing with his distant relatives.  Obama and the First Lady were then presented with two pints of the black stuff, ‘Sláinte’ said President Obama before downing his pint of Guiness, and took a hearty sup to roars of approval.  Barack Obama noticed that the Irish Guinness was nowhere near as good as it’s counterpart in America.  The President paid for his drink and left a generous tip to the publican.  Obama then exited the pub to shake hands with people on the street of Moneygall all over again.  The President and the First Lady thoroughly enjoyed themselves in Moneygall, with some of Obama’s staff saying that they had never seen him so relaxed and cheerful.

The event on College Green in Dublin saw acts by Imelda May, the Coronas, and Jedward among others.  Westlife performed to the crowds on College Green before An Taoiseach Enda Kenny introduces Barack and Michelle Obama to a rapturous Dublin welcome.  The US President then took to the microphone with ‘I’m Barack Obama, of the Moneygall Obamas’ followed by a short laugh from the crowds.  Obama highlighted the strong bonds between Ireland and America and said ‘There’s always been a little green behind the red white and blue.’  Obama said that ‘Never has a nation so small inspired so much in another.’  Obama praised peace in Ireland and stated that ‘America will stand by you always in the pursuit of peace.’  Obama stressed that Ireland must not lose hope in its quest to overcome the current economic struggles and the US President concluded his speech with the Gaelic version of his 2008 campaign slogan – ‘Is Féidir Linn’ – Yes We Can!

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