President Obama is stopping in Ireland in the course of four-country European jaunt to visit his maternal roots.
In Ireland, Obama plans to visit the Irish village of Moneygall, population 300, which claims to be the birthplace of one of his great-great-great grandfathers.
Henry Healy, one of Moneygall’s many residents claiming to be a distant relative of America’s first African-American president, hopes to hoist a beer with the town’s favorite son.
“We knew that the president had interest in his Irish roots,” Healy said. “He expressed while he was seeking the Democratic nomination that he did want to visit the little village in Ireland and have a pint.”
Situated in central Ireland between Dublin and Limerick, Moneygall has undergone a patriotic facelift. With American flags hanging in front of homes and stores, Obama might feel like he’s visiting a small town in the U.S. on the Fourth of July.
Genealogists at Ancestry.com first shed light on Obama’s Irish roots when he was campaigning for the presidency. They traced his Irish ancestry several generations to a fellow by the name of Fulmoth Kearney, the president’s great-great-great grandfather on his mother’s side, who immigrated from Moneygall to Ohio in 1850.
Maybe it was that “luck o’ the Irish” — or perhaps support from some of the 40 million Irish-Americans — that helped Obama win the presidential nomination.
“It never hurts to be a little Irish when you’re running for the presidency of the United States of America,” Obama joked during a campaign stop in 2008.
James Delingpole is derisive on the identity antics of this kind. Tony Blair evidently used to do it, too.
Ah Bejaysus and Begorrah! Oiâ€™ll be swearinâ€™ boi the auld shrine to the Vorgin with the shamrocks growinâ€™ round it next to the hill where Cuchullain slew the Great Leprechaun of Kildare on St Patrickâ€™s Day that Barack Seamus Oâ€™Toole Flaherty Joyce Oâ€™Bama is the most Irish US president that ever set foot on the Emerald Oisle, so he is, so he is.
Except, when heâ€™s in Africa, of course, when he disappears into the dry ice and re-emerges with a grass skirt and a bone through his nose and declares himself to be Mandingo, Prince of the Bloodline of the Bonga People, Drinker of Cattle Urine, Father of A Thousand Warrior Sons, Keeper of King Solomonâ€™s Mines, Barehanded Slayer of Lions, Undaunted Victim of the Evil Colonial British Empire.
And in the Middle East, where he is Al-Barak Hussein Obama, Protector of the Holy Shrine, Smiter of the Kuffar, Lion of the Desert, Tent-Loving-Aficionado-of-the-Oversweetened-Coffee, Chomper of Sheepsâ€™ Eyeballs, Restorer of the Caliphate.
Tony Blair used to do this trick too, his accent mutating from broad Glaswegian to genteel Edinburgh to Mummerset to Estuary to Richard E Grant to Sarf London Grime â€“ often in the course of one Downing Street reception â€“ the better to persuade his target audience that he was their kind of guy. And it is, of course, the hallmark of an unutterable charlatan