“This little country…inspires the biggest things…”

President Obama mingles with Irish well-wishers

These were some of the inspiring words of US President Barack Obama,  speaking about Ireland during his visit last week. Having traced his ancestral roots back to the small village of Moneygall, Co. Offaly (population 300), President Obama told the Irish crowds: ‘I’ve come home to find the apostrophe that we lost somewhere along the way!’

Obama’s great-great-great grandfather, a shoemaker, emigrated from the village to New York City in 1850. A very warm welcome awaited the president as locals lined up on a typical Irish day, unfazed by the rain showers mixed with bursts of sunshine. Obama popped into a local pub to visit with long-lost relatives and naturally to try a pint of Guinness.

The President ended his trip with an uplifting speech recalling the strong affection and friendship that exists between the USA and Ireland. He also spoke of the huge imprint that Ireland has made on the foundation and spirit of America culturally, politically, economically and much more. He reaffirmed his belief in Ireland’s resiliency in the current recession after having faced adversity before. Being the great orator that he is, he even gave a stab at Irish, translating his 2008 campaign phrase -Yes, we can! – into perfectly pronounced Gaelic – ‘Is Féidir linn!’

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