Obama to visit Ireland and assert his Irish heritage

President Barack Obama (Photo Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama

Much has quite rightly been made of Barack Obama being America’s first black president but he has also been keen to assert his Irish heritage.

Ok, it goes a long way back but his connection to Ireland is real. His great, great, great grandfather on his mother’s side came from Moneygall in Offaly.

The cynical among us might like to point out that it’s not unusual for American politicians to play the Irish card in order to win votes when election time comes. Even so, many people in Ireland will welcome Obama’s readiness to assert his Irish heritage.

The Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny certainly does. He described Obama’s decision to visit Ireland in May as a “statement of confidence” in Ireland and promised him a rapturous welcome.

Kenny has offered him a game of golf but Obama is said to be keener on visiting his family homestead in Moneygall and sampling some quality Irish music in a traditional setting.

Incidentally, Queen Elizabeth is also visiting Ireland in May which shows that heads of state are a little like Irish buses … you see none for ages and then they all come at once.