US and Irish flags raised around Obama’s ancestral home


A hundred Irish and United States flags have been hoisted over the Obama's ancestral home of Moneygall, County Offaly.

The flags were raised simultaneously by local children as part of an official ceremony. Moneygall is officially open to receive its most famous son next week.

Canon Stephen Neill from Cloughjordan, who carried out the initial research into President Barack Obama's links with Moneygall, told RTÉ News he hoped the President's visit would leave a lasting impression on the people of the community.

The town is run ragged with preparation for the arrival of Obama next Monday. Ollie Hayes the proprietor of Hayes' bar, where it is expected that Obama will take a drink has been dealing with tourists, journalist sand the US security staff for weeks. Now he wants to get a chance to serve the man himself.

Hayes plans to open the bar especially for the President on Monday. Speaking to Reuters he said "He can have whatever he wants…Since President Obama said he was coming to visit, it's just been mad."
The "men in black" arrived shortly after St. Patrick's Day, when Obama announced he intended to visit Ireland. The town which has not restaurants, cafes or even public toilets simply does not know what has hit it.

Julia Hayes, the energetic 80-year-old bar landlady of Hayes' pub said "Only for Obama, I'd have retired on my birthday two weeks ago but the visit would give you a bit of life again."

Another local Mary Fanning opened a souvenir shop two weeks ago which sells everything from Barack Obama fridge magnets to plastic lighters. She said "It's wonderful, everyone here is bursting with enthusiasm…But it's great for the country too. It makes people forget about the recession and lifts the spirits even if it's just for a little bit."

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