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Archive for May 23rd, 2011

Barack Obama – Welcomed to Ireland

President Barack Obama or should that be Barack O’Bama landed here in Ireland today on the 23rd of May 2011. He was welcomed by Taoiseach  Enda Kenny and President Mary McAleese.

President Barack Obama in Ireland

President Barack Obama in Ireland

US President Barack Obama’s 24-hour visit to Ireland began with a meeting with President Mary McAleese at Áras an Uachtaráin.

He also held talks with Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Farmleigh, visited the US Embassy in Ballsbridge and is now en route to Moneygall in Co Offaly.

President Obama will return to Dublin this afternoon for a rally on College Green.

Mr Obama said it is ‘heartwarming’ to be in Ireland.

‘We are glad to see progress is being made in stabilising the economic situation here.’

‘The friendship and the bond between Ireland and the US could not be stronger.

‘Obviously it is not just a matter of strategic interests. It’s not just a matter of foreign policy, for the United States and Ireland carries a blood lineage.

‘For millions of Irish-Americans this continues to symbolise the homeland and the extraordinary traditions of an extraordinary people.’

Barack Obama plants an Irish Oak

Barack Obama plants an Irish Oak

The current US President’s Irish roots have been traced back to a great-great-great-great grandfather named Joseph Kearney who was a shoemaker in Moneygall, a small village in central Ireland. Obama’s great-great-great grandfather, Falmouth Kearney left for America aged 19 during the potato famine in 1850.

Moneygall, population 300, is now on the map for American tourists, especially Irish Americans and the Presidential visit will swell numbers to a country still reeling from an economic crisis.

American Presidents visit Ireland for a number of reasons and these include looking ahead to their re-election campaigns and 40 million or so Americans who trace their roots back to Ireland.

Their voting power is sometimes overstated given the geographical spread of the Irish Catholics in America, but it still counts, and with this visit to the ancestral homeland, Barack Obama can count on most of what is traditionally a Democratic Party leaning community.

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