May 24th, 2011
01:21 PM ET
DUBLIN (CNN) –In my position as a photojournalist with CNN I have had the opportunity to cover several American presidents. Occasionally I get to go on overseas trips. The arena of world politics is a challenging one, and it’s kind of neat to see how you feel that your "leader" stacks up when they are on the international stage. It’s always a lot of work on these trips, but there is the excitement of being in a foreign country, if only for a brief period.
President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle have visited Ireland, and guess what, I came along! I know, I know! There’s nothing newsworthy in the presence of one extra camera guy, but you see I’ve NEVER been to Ireland. Actually, I had been, in the sparkling twinkle in the eye, the humor, and the loving smile of my mother whose maiden name was Creegan.
Don’t get me wrong; my mom was from a long line of "Yanks", probably in the States since the early 1800s (my great grandfather fought for the Union in the Civil War), but until she married my dad of German decent the Irish had always intermarried. It seems during childhood I was always around my Irish-American aunts, Ann, Margaret, Mary and Kay. I was told I was the spitting image of my grandfather Creegan a man who was an accountant for a mining company in the mountains of western Maryland, a man whom I never knew. We sang Irish songs, and felt ancestral pride in "the Emerald Isle".
So as President Obama celebrates his discovered Irish roots, I’ve gotten a too short chance to celebrate mine as well. As I covered the President’s speech before a rousing crowd at College Green I think it wasn’t just the bitter wind that caused a tear to well up in my eye, but my own reflections on the shadows of people I never knew, but loved anyhow.