Obama's Offaly village braces for election party

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Obama's Offaly village braces for election party

Postby Bord na Mona man » Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:37 pm

Obama's Offaly village braces for election party


PREPARATIONS ARE under way for a big US election night party in the tiny village where Barack Obama can trace his Irish roots.

"Welcome to Obama country" read two billboards on either side of Moneygall, Co Offaly, which is now hoping for its first US presidential visit.

"We're hopeful that, come Wednesday morning, Brian Cowen will be congratulating US president-elect Barack Obama and inviting him to the town of his ancestors," said local Church of Ireland canon Stephen Neill.

Historians have unearthed records showing Obama's maternal ancestors lived, worked, married and had children in the Moneygall area more than 150 years ago.

Fulmuth Kearney, who is Obama's third great-grandfather, left Moneygall for New York in 1850 to eventually settle in Ohio.

"We've never seen such an interest in any election here ever before," said Henry Healy, who claims to be a distant relation of Hawaiian-born Mr Obama.

Mr Healy, whose family has been in Moneygall since 1750, has traced his family tree to meet the Kearney Obama dynasty.

"In 1760 a Joseph Kearney of the parish of Moneygall married a Sarah Healy also of the parish," he said. "Sarah and Joseph are great-grandparents to Fulmuth Kearney who was Barack's last link to Ireland," said Mr Healy.

Residents of Moneygall, on the N7 Limerick road, are gearing up for a US election party in Ollie Hayes's Bar in the town tomorrow night.

"There's a huge amount of excitement in the area now that election week is finally upon us," said Canon Neill.

"We have Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys playing their song There's No One as Irish as Barack Obama and we hope to be celebrating with early indications from the US as the night unfolds," said Canon Neill.

"Mr Obama said he'll visit the 'little village' in Ireland that has adopted him, so we hope to be able to roll out the red carpet as soon as all the votes are in."

© 2008 The Irish Times
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