The only two pubs in Moneygall, the County Offaly village where President Obama will visit, have to ‘fight it out’ to decide where the president goes according to Obama’s closest Irish relative. The president is due May 23.
Henry Healy told the Offaly Express that while it wouldn’t be a presidential visit to Ireland without the traditional pint of Guinness, Moneygall has only two pubs, Ollie Hayes pub and Joe Hayes pub, and the two will have to “fight it out,” to host the American president.
President Ronald Reagan had his Guinness at the Ronald Reagan Inn in Ballyporeen in Tipperary in 1984, not far from Moneygall, on his visit to Ireland while President Clinton had his at Cassidy’s Bar in Dublin, the same name as his mother’s family.
As to who will win the Moneygall contest it is too early to say but the competition is bound to be fierce.
The tiny town of just 292 residents will be in the world spotlight on May 23rd when the 44th president visits.
The favorite right now is Ollie Hayes pub which has it’s own Obama corner. It was where US Ambassador Dan Rooney visited when he came to Moneygall on a scouting trip for the Obama visit last year.
At the time Ollie Hayes said "This is an historic day. Drink prices are down after the budget and the American ambassador is coming – two things I thought would never happen.”
Moneygall natives could not be prouder at news of the presidential visit . Henry Healy told the Offaly Express, that “No one really took Barack Obama seriously until he actually beat Hillary Clinton in Iowa back in January 2008. Everyone in Moneygall started to genuinely believe “yes this man can actually do it” and we all began to rally behind.
“ We accumulated in the local many nights watching the different elections, waiting for the results to come in from the different primaries. The biggest night I suppose was November 5 when he beat John McCain. Everyone in the village was 100% behind him during the campaign and everyone is excited at the prospects of hosting the most powerful man in the world,”
The town will have a major face lift.The Dulux paint company has asked to paint the entire town in advance of the visit which is an offer likely to be accepted.
Healy explained his common ancestry with President Obama “Our ancestry is shared with President Obama through the marriage of Joseph Kearney and Sarah Healy. They married in 1761. Josephy Kearney was from Shinrone and Sarah Healy was from Moneygall. They had a son, William Kearney. When he married he had a son Joseph Kearney, who was the shoemaker in Moneygall from his marriage with Phoebe Donavan they had their son Fulmuth Kearney who emigrated in 1850 to the United States.”
He said the link was first discovered the in May 2007, when the announcement was made that a Fulmuth Kearney was an ancestor of the Democratic candidate at time.
“An uncle of mine had conducted family research at the time, had the family tree done and had been working with a family of Kearney’s in Ohio in America. Immediately we were able to make the connection because my uncle had all the groundwork done. So within an hour of the news breaking we were able to make the connection which has been confirmed and authenticated by Cannon Steven Neill as well.”
As to where he will go in Moneygall Healy says “We would hope he would visit the ancestral home, the school house that still stands that his ancestors attended and Templeharry Church where all the family were baptised and worshipped. They are all still standing and are important sites for the president to visit,” said Healy.