Now that President Obama has formally announced that he will travel to Ireland in May, there is no shortage of Irish and Irish Americans offering the president travel tips once he touches down on Irish soil for the first time.
With his distant Irish heritage in Moneygall, Co. Offaly Obama is planning to take a trip there to seek out the roots of his great, great, great, great, great grandfather.
But for a country steeped in history and known for its tourist attractions, where should the president go to get a true understanding of Irish culture? The Irish Voice asked some people for their recommendations.
At a café in the West Village in New York City, three Dublin girls muse over where best to send the U.S. president. They each agree that a good pint of Guinness needs to be a priority during his official visit.
Niamh O’Sullivan says he has to take in the sights at the Merry Ploughboy Pub on the outskirts of Dublin city.
“He can experience Irish culture here with traditional dancing, and live music. Also the Guinness is supposed to be beautiful,” she said.
“He should also take in the Cobblestone Pub in Smithfield in the city center. They have a singsong on a Saturday and a Sunday.”
Currently living in Brooklyn, Niamh Langton says the Guinness Store House is a must for Obama and his entourage.
“Here he can get a proper pint of Guinness and view the spectacular sights of Dublin from their Gravity Bar,” she told the Irish Voice.
As the friends chatter, other recommendations are thrown in such as the Ring of Kerry, the Cliffs of Moher and Tory Island off the coast of Co. Donegal.
Staying loyal to his red and white colors, Cork man Peter Tobin says Obama should take a trip down south.
“No visit to Ireland would be complete without crossing the border and paying the Corkonians a visit,” says Tobin. “They'd never let him forget it if he didn't.
“If he's looking for a bit of work after he finishes up in the White House the people of Cork would look after him too. He could be manager of the footballers maybe," Tobin added.
A huge GAA football fan, Dallan McCormick says a traditional Irish football game should be top priority for the former Illinois senator.
“A Junior B club football Cavan GAA semifinal between Ballymachugh and Swanlinbar,” says McCormick.
“The passion that can only be shown by fat middle aged balding men running after a football in what is basically nothing more than a swamp, that would surely inspire him to do great and wonderful things for his country,” adds McCormick.
Mayo woman, Bridget Keane says that the president should take in Moneygall to obtain a true insight into the current state of affairs in Ireland’s ailing economy.
“He should visit the empty building site in his ancestry village of Moneygall, where Celtic Tiger plans to build a hotel in the U.S. leader’s honor have fallen flat on their face -- reflective of the state of the rest of our nation,” says Keane.
Drinking tea in a café in Queens, Rebecca Miller says that Trinity College in Dublin has to be top of Obama’s list.
“He cares about tradition and his loves perseverance, as well as looking to the future, so a college full of young people which houses one of Ireland’s oldest documents is somewhere he should definitely go,” she told the Irish Voice.
“Ireland is such an old country which has struggled through and survived so much. It’s a living example of what Obama believes in, so it’s only fitting that he should visit,” she added.
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