President Obama concluded his historic visit to Ireland yesterday, with a visit to his ancestral home in Moneygall, Co. Offaly.
The rural village, which has only one street was where his great-great-great grandfather, Falmouth Kearny lived, before emigrating to America. After meeting distant relatives and spending time in the local pub, Mr. Obama and his wife Michelle, returned to Dublin where the President addressed a crowd of 40,000 spectators.
|‘If there is anyone out there who still doubts that Ireland is a place where all things are possible, today is your answer. Today the 44th American President comes home’ – Taoiseach Enda Kenny introduces Mr. Obama to the crowd|
Mr Obama introduced himself to the crowd, saying: ‘I’ve come home to find the apostrophe that we lost somewhere along the way’, echoing his humble roots and the importance of his Irish heritage. He continued to emphasise the continuing importance of the relationship between Ireland and the United States - ‘This little country that inspires the biggest things – - your best days are still ahead. Our greatest triumphs – - in America and Ireland alike – - are still to come‘. He paid tribute to the previous US Presidents who claimed Irish heritage – including Bill Clinton and the significance of John F. Kennedy’s influence in a world terrified by the Cold War: ‘And when an Iron Curtain fell across this continent and our way of life was challenged, it was our first Irish president… John F. Kennedy, who made us believe 50 years ago this week that mankind could do something as big and bold and ambitious as walk on the moon. He made us dream again’.
|‘And America will stand by you, always’ – Barack Obama addresses the crowd in College Green|
The visit has been another continuation of the Story of The Wild Geese and reminds us of the inspiration behind The Wild Geese Irish Whiskey:
‘Overtime the migrants formed communities, often intermarrying and became a vital force in their host societies. However, they never forgot their homeland and dreamt of one day returning to Ireland’
Mr Obama encouraged the Irish people to remember what Ireland and the United States had achieved together. He roused the crowd by saying: ‘Remember that whatever hardships the winter may bring, springtime is always just around the corner. And if they keep on arguing with you, just respond with a simple creed: Is feidir Linn. Yes We Can’.
The President also promised that this would not be a one-off visit, as his eighth cousin, Henry Healy said ‘He has promised he’s coming back and we can’t wait and we’ll have a hooley’.