I WATCHED President Obama's arrival in Ireland aboard Air Force One from CNN – who else? What would we do for true worldwide news without them and the BBC this side of the Atlantic?
If we were depending on Fox News, which really stands for "For Only Xenophobes" we wouldn't have a foggiest notion what occurs outside the GOP or along the Mexican border.
With all the financial pain Ireland has endured the past couple of years, it really did the heart good to see the throngs of parents and kids with smiling faces who lined the streets tenfold of Obama’s ancestral home of Moneygall in Offaly, and boy did the president lap it up. You could clearly see he was he was in love with the audience as indeed, they were with him and his beautiful wife.
There he was in the middle of the crowd shaking hands with literally hundreds of onlookers. I'm sure his security team was having nightmares!
But they need not have worried. This was Ireland.
During the Irish election campaign I wrote to the Irish Voice saying that Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny couldn't put two words together without stammering. Granted he was reading his speech on Monday in College Green Dublin in front of a packed audience, but I must say he delivered it with a gusto and passion that I honestly didn't think he possessed, so I was 100% wrong in my assessment of him.
When it was the president’s turn I was on the edge of my seat throughout, and I don't mind admitting a few tears were shed as he spoke about the harrowing details our ancestors had to go through on the way to these shores.
Sure things are tough today, but we can't even begin to compare with what our forefathers experienced on their voyage west. Ironically, about 75% of Ireland's population now knows what "yes we can" (Is feidir linn) is in the Irish language, whereas they didn't before.
I truly believe Obama’s message will bring hope and inspiration to the Irish people when they need it most. I also have no doubt that Ireland will once again rise from its present financial disaster and take its proper place among the prosperous nations of the world.
Agus tiochaidh ar la aris.
College Point, New York
Raise a glass to Robert Emmet, the Irish rebel leader executed on this day in 1803