The United States First Lady, Michelle Obama, spoke of her "surprise" at the connection she felt to the Offaly town of Moneygall during her visit in May. Speaking at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, she admitted that as well as having a kinship with Africa she also feels a connection with Ireland.
She said "I absolutely felt that connection in Moneygall [and was] a little more surprised by it…The love, the warmth, the connection, the excitement. That was family, too. And that’s what I want my kids to understand – that your family is Granny in Kisumu, but it’s also your cousin in Moneygall. That is your history."
The small town of Moneygall welcomed President Barack Obama and his wife on May 23 with thousands lining the street. The couple visited Ollie Hayes' pub, met with some of the President's cousins including Henry Healy and, of course, sampled some Guinness.
Reuters reported that while visiting South Africa, on her second solo visit as First Lady, she addressed the remnants of the racial discrimination system known as apartheid, highlighted the struggles of the U.S. civil rights movement, and answered questions about her role as a high profile African American woman.
Speaking about her role as First Lady she said "I feel deep, deep responsibility. So I guess in a sense there is pressure, because I don't want to let people down."
She continued "I didn't necessarily run for office. I was actually trying to talk my husband out of running for office…But now that we're here, I want to be good because this is a big job, and it's a big, bright light. And you don't want to waste it."