Obama’s ‘Irish homestead’ goes public
The home where US President Barack Obama’s Irish ancestors used to live has been opened to the public.
The President visited the house in Moneygall, Co Offaly in May last year. His ancestors, Joseph and Phoebe Kearney and their son, Falmouth, had lived there in the 1850s before emigrating to The USA.
The house is now owned by shopkeeper, John Donovan, but he has leased it to the Moneygall Development Association who are using it to attract tourists to the village.
They have restored the house and turned it into a visitor centre. It contains pictures of the original cottage as well as a copy of Obama’s certificate of Irish heritage. There are also baptismal records from Obama’s ancestors on display.
Recreating 19th Century Irish cottage
It was opened by Karyn Posner-Mullen who is the Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the US Embassy in Dublin.
Henry Healy, eighth cousin of the President was at the opening ceremony. He joked: “Unfortunately President Obama is very busy today, He has an election coming up, so he wasn’t able to come over to open the house.”
On the website for the house, Donovan said: “We have taken great care in the renovation of the property and have endeavoured to recreate the atmosphere of the period utilising fittings and furnishings of the period and specific to the property.”