May 22nd, 2011
08:40 PM ET

Putting Moneygall, Ireland on the map

**This story was originally published on March 17, 2011**

WASHINGTON (CNN) – When President Barack Obama told Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny Thursday that he would visit the nation during his upcoming trip to Europe, all eyes turned toward one tiny village in central Ireland.

“I’m expecting to go not only to all the famous sites, but also to go to Moneygall, where my great-great-great-great-great grandfather hails from,” Obama said in his Oval Office meeting with the new Taoiseach.

Moneygall has a population of less than 300 people, according to Wikipedia, and consists of “a Roman Catholic church, five shops, a post office, a national school, a [police] station, and two pubs."

Before Obama put it on the map, a racehorse named Papillon was the most famous export of Moneygall. Or as this Irish news website described the village:

There is no filling station or visitor accommodation in Moneygall. Normally, the main activity is the passing traffic on the dusty N7 road between Dublin and Limerick which bisects the village. However, a bypass expected to be completed in 2010 will take even that away.

This was, of course, before Obama first learned of his Irish heritage prior to the 2008 campaign.
“I’m looking forward to going over there and having a pint,” he told an Irish TV reporter after winning the Iowa caucuses.

Since then the people of Moneygall have embraced Barack Obama. Really, really embraced him.

It was reported that the entire village celebrated at one of the town’s two pubs after Obama won the general election. And upon his inauguration, U.S. flags adorned homes and businesses in town, buses were emblazoned with the president’s face, and even a local plumber put up signs along the road declaring Moneygall was President Obama’s “ancestral home.

So just what can the president expect when he makes the trip this May?

An Irish tourism site says the homestead of Obama’s ancestor Fulmulth Kearney no longer exists after the property was acquired by the county to build housing.

But there is no doubt that he will be received by the villagers with open arms – and maybe even a song like the one written about him in 2008 called “There’s no one as Irish as Barack Obama.”

Yes, it is worth checking out for lyrics like:

“O'Leary, O'Reilly, O'Hare and O'Hara/There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama/You don't believe me, I hear you say/But Barack’s as Irish as JFK/His grandaddy’s daddy came from Moneygall/a small Irish village, well known to you all.”

It's no wonder Prime Minister Kenny told reporters today that the news of Obama’s visit would be “received rapturously” by the Irish people.

Topics: Ireland • President Obama

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