The Wasatch Behind: Prodigal son of Ireland
Just when we were finally convinced that president O'bama was native Hawaiian, he turned Irish on us again. Whodathunk? Last week our globetrotting chief executive traveled to the emerald isles to visit the land of his ancestors.
We all know that everyone secretly wishes they were Irish, but Barrack O'bama really is Irish. When Irish president Mary McAleese met him at the airport, she presented him with an official Irish birth certificate to add to his collection. Not really, that was just a bad joke going around. I think she gave him a pint of Guinness and a raincoat.
It seems everyone wanted to visit Ireland in May. England's Queen Elizabeth was the opening act, the first English monarch to visit in 100 years. I think she was there to apologize for not inviting the Irishmen to the recent royal wedding. She was charming in her green hat and longsuffering royal smile, and a hard act to follow, but Ireland's native son stole her thunder.
During the presidential campaign of 2008, someone traced Barrack Obama's genealogy to Ireland. His third great-grandfather on his mother's side was a shoemaker from the little town of Moneygall. The man's name was Falmouth Kearney and he immigrated to America in 1850 during the Irish potato famine.
Falmouth Kearney had a daughter, Mary Ann Kearney, who married a man named Jacob Dunham. The Dunhams had a son they named Ralph. Ralph Dunham and his wife Ruth Armour had a son they named Stanley. Stanley married Madilyn Payne and they had a daughter they named Stanley Ann - no kidding. Stanley Ann was a free spirit and a liberated hippy girl by all reports, who married a tall, dark and handsome guy from Kenya named Barrack Hussein Obama. They had a son they named Barrack Hussein Obama Jr., who grew up to be Barry Soetoro after Stanley Ann married a guy from Indonesia named Lolo Soetoro. Barry Soetoro, aka Barrack Obama Jr., grew up in Hawaii living with his grandparents, Stanley and Madilyn Dunham. Who could claim a better Irish heritage than that?
To quote an old political maxim, "millions of Americans trace their ancestry to Ireland, so it doesn't hurt to have a wee drop of Irish blood when you run for public office." The president made a campaign stop in Ireland to reaffirm his Celtic roots. It was his first trip to the O'bama homeland, but his eighth trip to Europe since becoming president two years ago. The oval office has been on autopilot.
People in Dublin turned out by the thousands to see the legendary Irish-African-American and welcome him home. In his ancestral hometown of Moneygall, the 300 residents greeted him at Ollie's Bar where he downed a pint of stout and had his picture taken with a life-sized cardboard cutout of himself. Three thousand people were given tickets to see the president as he visited with relatives and reminisced of old times.
Returning to official duties in Dublin, O'bama planted a tree next to those planted by other Irish-American presidents, Kennedy and Clinton. He then gave a speech before he and Michele were entertained by a fawning group of Irish musicians, actors and athletes. During his speech, he said he felt right at home in Ireland, especially after downing that pint of stout.
There was another embarrassing moment when O'bama became the first American president to drag bottom in Ireland. It happened as his motorcade was leaving the American Embassy in Dublin. The big black limo was abruptly high-centered on a speed bump, much to the chagrin of the secret service. Everyone spilled their shamrock slurpees. The president and Mrs. President had to be freed by a tow strap from another vehicle as the secret service did their best to keep cameras from recording the event for posterity - bummer dude.
And then, to add insult to injury, that darn Icelandic volcano acted up again and ruined the first couple's vacation for the second time. They had to leave early before the ash cloud reached Dublin. Last year the volcano ruined their planned trip to Poland. The earth is obviously angry that our president isn't doing more to stop global warming.
Not to worry, his next stop was England, and after all he's done for our British allies lately, I'm sure the queen had a nice warm plate of Haggis waiting for him at a state dinner at Buckingham Palace.