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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.

Queen visits Ireland

The Queen who is to visit Ireland
Elizabeth II, May 2007

Ireland is to receive a state visit by The Queen – the first by a reigning British monarch since her grandfather George V ventured across the Irish Sea in 1911.

George’s visit was very successful but it was followed a few years later by the Easter Rising and the war for Irish independence – not exactly what he had in mind when he waved to the cheering masses who lined the streets of Dublin.

The visit by Queen Elizabeth, at the invitation of the Irish president Mary McAleese, is likely to be less eventful but notable all the same.

Well done Ireland for beating England at cricket


Congratulations to Ireland for beating at cricket.

Now I don’t pretend to know anything about cricket but I do know the Irish victory is of the biggest shocks the game has seen for many years.

This report from the Guardian newspaper captures the sense of disbelief in the cricketing world.

“This is utterly astonishing, one of the most amazing victories in any sport for years.

Ogham, the mysterious language of the trees The Origins of the Ogham alphabet are still a mystery for many historians, but it is primarily thought to be an early form of the Irish written Language. Bealtaine Fire

Music set to the words of Irish writer Samuel Beckett


New York City Opera is staging what it calls a monodrama featuring words by the Irish writer Samuel Beckett set to music.

The piece is a one-act opera called Neither. The music was written by Morton Feldman.

Beckett is one Ireland’s greatest ever writers and is perhaps best known for his play, Waiting for Godot.

Irish living abroad urged to cast a symbolic vote


Leading Irish singer Christy Moore is more at home in the concert hall than the debating chamber but he’s obviously a democrat at heart.

He’s alerted his fans to a website giving Irish people living abroad a chance to have a say in the coming General Election.

Road bowling – an old Irish tradition

Irish tradition of Road Bowling
Irish tradition of Road Bowling

Road bowling is an old Irish sport that has been going on for hundreds of years.
It involves throwing a metal ball as far as you can down a country road, but it’s not as straightforward as first appears – you have to negotiate bends in winding country lanes and make sure you don’t lose the ball.

Assert your Irish heritage

Essence of Irishness
How Irish are you?

Irish people living abroad have always looked for ways to assert their Irish heritage – whether it be music, culture, politics or sport.
Now there’s another way for the Irish living in Britain to assert themselves … all they have to do is tick a box.
How Irish are you?

Advice for first time visitors to Ireland


Every year millions of people from all over the world visit Ireland – many of them are fulfilling a lifelong dream by doing so.

There is so much to see and do in Ireland, from beautiful scenery, to bustling cities, from fascinating historical sites to sunny beaches which are favourites of those wanting to relax or for surfers looking for a more action-packed holiday – there really is something for everyone.