Local Irish newspaper changes its name to the ‘Obama Independent’
Offaly Independent changes title for the first time in 119 years to celebrate president
The Offaly Independent, the local newspaper, of Moneygall the town President Obama’s ancestors came from has changed its name temporarily for the first time in 119 years. On Friday it will be called Obama Independent and it will be sold as a special souvenir edition.
Editor of the paper Tadhg Carey said "We would envisage that this edition will be kept as a souvenir copy and will help to commemorate a famous day in the county's history."
Obama mania has really set in. Locals in Moneygall, County Offaly, President Barack Obama's ancestral home, queued for up to six hours to nab a "golden ticket" to see his homecoming on Monday.
Only 2,000 people will be permitted to take part in the president's flying visit through Moneygall. Those lucky enough to get a ticket are from the local parishes or on a restricted civic list.
Henry Healy, a distant cousin of Obama, told the Belfast Telegraph the village was ready to give the President a warm welcome.
He said "I liken this to his presidential campaign, when he was the underdog…Then we were the underdogs to secure this visit and both of us are the winners. He said he wanted to come to Moneygall and it's the people of Moneygall he is going to meet. Everybody has been extremely patient. They've been queuing five to six hours for their golden tickets."
On Monday Obama and his wife Michelle will touch down in Dublin in Air Force One. They will start their one day trip with an obligatory meeting with the heads of state and government. They will then fly by helicopter to Moneygall where they will only stay for one hour. Their short visit will include a visit to Ollie Hayes pub.
Obama-mania has well and truly set in in Moneygall. Locals have painted their houses and repaired footpaths and Healy said that even the grasslands on the outskirts of the town have been tended to in preparation for the helicopter's landing.
Billy Hayes, a local entrepreneur has even set up a range in commemorative t-shirts. He revealed that a batch of Obama Moneygall 2011 t-shirts have been ordered by the US Embassy for officials who will not be able to get to the shops during their visit.
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