House restored to mark anniversary of Barack Obama visit to Moneygall

Wednesday 23 May 2012 22.40
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Barack Obama visited Moneygall on 23 May 2011
Barack Obama visited Moneygall on 23 May 2011
President Obama's distant cousin Henry Healy shows children around the visitor centre
President Obama's distant cousin Henry Healy shows children around the visitor centre

Celebrations are taking place in Moneygall, Co Offaly, to celebrate the first anniversary of the visit of US President Barack Obama to his ancestral home.

On 23 May 2011, hundreds of people lined the streets of the village to welcome President Obama and his wife, Michelle.

He visited the small house in the centre of the village where his ancestors Joseph and Phoebe Kearney and their son, Falmouth, lived before emigrating to the United States in the 1850s.

The house has been restored and transformed into a visitor centre, with the Obama ancestral and baptismal records from nearby Templeharry Church on display.

There are also pictures of the original cottage and a framed certificate of President Obama's Irish heritage, which was presented to him on St Patrick's Day by Taoiseach Enda Kenny on a visit to the White House.

The restored house was formally open by Karyn Posner-Mullen, Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the US Embassy in Dublin.

She congratulated the community for their restoration of the ancestral home to mark the first anniversary of President Obama's visit to the village.

Henry Healy, a distant cousin of President Obama and who was responsible for highlighting the Obama ancestral connection, said it was a fabulous day for Moneygall commemorating what has been a great year for the village.

Mr Healy said the final piece of the jigsaw is now in place where people can visit the ancestral home of President Obama and read all about his family's history with the area.

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