Posted by: mdmusingsie | May 24, 2011

Is Féidir Linn

Hot on the heels of Queen Elizabeth II visit to Ireland came American President Barack Obama. His stay was much shorter than the queen’s, less than a day versus four (due to pesky Icelandic ash clouds).  He came to visit the town of his ancestors – Moneygall.  Naturally the town has been spruced up for the occasion with one house front painting an American flag on one side of the door and an Irish on the opposite.  The president even enjoyed a pint of Guinness at the local pub, remarking, as many have said, that it tastes better in Ireland.

There was a public meeting with the American President in College Green, Dublin, with no tickets required – anyone could attend (at least until the place filled up with 100k spectators).  Tempting as it was, I chose not to brave the crowds.  It would have been ironic, though, had I gone, as I did meet Irish President McAleese in Portland, Oregon a few years back; it would only be fitting that I meet the American President on Irish soil.  The chance of actually meeting him would normally have been next to nil, anyway, but, surprisingly, he and his wife Michelle spent a great deal of time in Moneygall and Dublin shaking hands and chatting with the common folk.   I watched it all on my tiny TV screen (my laptop screen’s about the same size, but beggars can’t be choosey – at least the apartment had a TV). Like the Queen, he even had a cúpla focal for the locals – naturally his campaign phrase – “yes we can” or “is féidir linn” as Gaeilge.  You can even get a t-shirt with the saying or other Obama Ireland t-shirts at www.moneygall.com.

It was very moving and one of those ‘proud to be an American’ moments.  It was nice to see him back in his element.

If nothing else, both of these visits by such important figures should hopefully bring a boost in tourism to Ireland.

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