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Ollie Hayes offers a pint of Guinness to a cut-out of President Obama in his bar in Monegall Village. Photo by: Eamonn Farrell

Moneygall makes merry as Obama visit nears---little town that could gets ready for big day

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Ollie Hayes offers a pint of Guinness to a cut-out of President Obama in his bar in Monegall Village. Photo by: Eamonn Farrell

Moneygall, Offaly, Ireland; Reader, some times good things happen to good people.

The tiny village of Moneygall dreamed that one day the president of the United States would drop in to their little town and pay homage to his ancestor who left from there.

Many laughed at the audacity of the idea and others were deeply skeptical.

Moneygall said 'Yes we can.'

No one is laughing any more.

The president is coming on Monday and I have seen for myself a dream come through.

Jaded journalist that I am sometimes comes a story that lifts the spirit, a tale of the little village that could.

This is one.

It starts about four miles outside Moneygall where the south-bound N7 highway suddenly narrows to one lane and traffic cones cordon off the only exit.

Obama is coming to town.

A little further down we pass a brand new exit, especially built for Obama and his security detail.

We turn around and take the North-bound exit, the only way to approach Moneygall.

The first sight are hundreds of American and Irish flags fluttering in the afternoon breeze, about 100 of them set up on each side of the one street that goes through town.

Two new stores have opened in Moneygall in the past few weeks, a souvenir shop and a T shirt shop and the Obama coffee shop will open shortly.

The local newspaper has changed its name to the Obama Independent, people are literally dancing on the streets of Moneygall, there are more American flags than a Fourth of July pageant.

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