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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.

There is an Irish dance group called the Obama Stepdancers . They are busy practising their steps for the Obama hooley they tell me.

The best selling T shirt is 'What's the Crack Barack' and one that says 'Obama is feidir linn' Irish for 'yes we can.'

The little village of 300 or so souls is thronged with people, this Thursday afternoon, camera crews from all over the world hustle for the shot outside the Ollie Hayes pub or the nearby tiny house where Fulmuth Kearney left Ireland for the new world in 1850.

Welcome to Shangri La -- I mean Moneygall, home to the Great Grandfather of Barack Obama's great grandfather and on Monday May 23, the center of the known world.

It is hard to describe the excitement here. In the little village hall a few thousand passes to see Barack Obama on Monday in the village were handed out. The lucky ones headed for Ollie Hayes's pub to celebrate.

Flashing their admittance card they were as happy as if they had won the lottery.

Ollie himself is in fine fettle, ready to pour the most famous pint in Irish history when the great man himself ducks into his pub on Monday afternoon about three o'clock.

Henry Healy Obama's closest relative is a local hero, now starring in Tourism Ireland television ads extolling the Emerald Isle.

All is ready for the great occasion, The weather forecast is not great with rain from the west forecast. The magic in Moneygall will surely prevail these days one more time and the clouds will mysteriously divide and pass the little Offaly town.

Why not, sure the impossible dream has already happened, why not again.

READ MORE:
President Obama to address massive outdoor rally in College Green Dublin

Moneygall’s own secret agents - village gears up for Obama’s visit

Ireland ready for Obama visit
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