Barack Obama visited Moneygall, Co. Offaly on the 23rd May 2011
Barack Obama's whistle-stop tour of Ireland and his roots began shortly after 9.30, when Air Force One landed at Dublin Airport; the first couple were greeted by Irish foreign minister Eamon Gilmore and flew to Phoenix Park in the White House helicopter, Marine One.
Moneygall is only 45 minutes from Kinnitty Castle Hotel it is a beautiful drive through the countryside of County Offaly. En-route, why not stop in Birr and see the observatory and Gardens in Birr Castle. Roscrea also has many monastic features to offer for example the round tower.
Moneygall, County Offaly, a short journey from Kinnitty Castle Hotel Ireland, was always going to be the high point of Barack Obama's visit to Ireland. It was from here that a 19-year-old shoemaker called Falmouth Kearney set out for one of the so-called coffin ships that left Ireland for the new world during the Great Famine. He landed in New York on 20 March 1850.
The Obama’s, after a genuinely joyful 90 minutes in Moneygall, County Offaly, flew back to Dublin for a public party on College Green. "My name is Barack Obama, of the Moneygall Obama’s," the president said. "I've come home to find the apostrophe that we lost somewhere along the way".
Falmouth was following his father Joseph, who had abandoned Ireland almost exactly a year earlier; his mother Phoebe, brother William and sister Mary came a year later. Two years after he settled in the US, Falmouth married Charlotte Holloway. In 1860 they were living in Deerfield, Ohio; the 1870 census has them in Tipton County, Indiana. Charlotte Kearney died in 1877, followed by her husband a little over a year later. They left three sons, and five daughters. One of those girls, Mary Anne, had a grandson called Stanley Armour Dunham. His daughter gave birth in August 1961 to a boy called Barack Hussein Obama.
The connection was uncovered in 2007, when Obama was a rising Democratic star, and the village's 298 inhabitants had been preparing for this moment since he was elected president. "This really is the culmination of four years' very hard work," said Stephen Neill, the Church of Ireland rector who with Healy confirmed the link. Neill said he received an email from a US genealogist suggesting a connection between Offaly and Obama: "I was lucky; the parish records had been indexed quite recently. There's no doubt." So yesterday was "an amazing moment," he said.