Guinness plan to send a master brewer, with a specially selected barrel of the stout, to Moneygall, County Offaly, this Sunday, ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit next weekend.
The barrel will be presented to Ollie Hayes, the owner of the pub Obama will visit in his ancestral home of Moneygall.
Hayes said “On Sunday morning we are bringing down the master brewer from St James’s Gate. We met him in Diageo headquarters, he’ll be here on Sunday morning at 11am and he will present me with the barrel of brew.”
President Obama is expected to sample Ireland’s most famous brew on May 23rd when he visits Moneygall
It had been rumored that the US secret service would make a surprise visit to Ollie Hayes pub on Friday but Hayes told the Irish Times that they had not arrived. He said “They are expected in the town shortly.”
“Things are coming to a head now and most of the planning is done, all pending the approval of the advance security. We will co-operate fully with them because it will be in the interest of the safety and security of everyone.”
Moneygall has become the nation’s HQ for Obama-mania ahead of his visit. Hayes says the pub has become a kind of Mecca for curious visitors.
“Nothing is set in stone until we get the approval of the secret service – it’s not even set in stone that he is coming here,” he said.
Julie Hayes, an 80-year-old publican across the road form her namesake has been taking preparations of Obama’s visit in her stride. She said “I’ve never seen anything like this, I am 63 years behind the bar. I don’t mind at all, it’s grand I’ll go with the flow…Unless he comes in I’m not going to get a glimpse of him, I’m hoping he’ll come in.”
The secret service visited Hayes’s pub in April. Hayes said “A certain number of them came in here to me. They were very quiet, they didn’t say much they just had a look around.”
The local bread deliveryman, Joseph Kearney, who has, of late, been delivering “Barack’s Bracks”, has never looked into his ancestral roots despite the fact that he shares his last name with Obama’s Moneygall ancestor Falmouth Kearney. He says that as far as he knew he was the only Kearney in the area.
“I’m coming into Moneygall with bread for 32 years” said Kearney. “I never bothered looking into it but there in the last few weeks people are saying why don’t you look into it….At the same time if I did dig back there could be something there.”
As well as the novelty cakes other preparations have begun in earnest. Reports in the Financial Times says that the excitement among the 300 residents of Moneygall is palpable. Sidewalks have been resurfaced, flowers are being planted and all the houses are being painted. In one of the newsagents there is a sign which reads “Obama Abu” (which roughly translated from Irish means “Hurrah for Obama”).
Most importantly Obama’s ancestral home, a two-story house on the Main Street of the town have had its roof replaced with the original thatch. Also on the sidewalk outside is a plaque explaining Obama’s connection to the Kearney family tree. Across the street is the school which is the one ancestor Falmouth Kearney attended.