In this article:
- Little known to most people living outside of the Emerald Isle, Barack Obama actually has an Irish ancestor from the town of Moneygall. And the people of Moneygall are proud and happy to share this fact with the world.
- In 2011, Obama made a visit to Moneygall and drank a pint of Guinness with a distant relative. A few years later, they built the Barack Obama Plaza just outside the town, which includes a statue of Barack and Michelle and a museum dedicated to the president.
- In 2008, an Irish band called the Corrigan Brothers released a song called “There’s No One as Irish as Barack Obama” and it’s absolutely incredible. It also features the most Irish pronunciation of the president’s first name that you’ll ever hear.
Ever since Barack Obama first announced that he’d be running for President of the United States on February 10, 2007, outside of the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois, conspiracy theorists have relentlessly attacked the man’s family history and birth location.
Unsubstantiated claims about him being born in this or that Muslim country have led to outrageous lawsuits and general disdain among the political right, despite the fact that Obama has released his long-form birth certificate to the public, proving conclusively that he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii.
However, back in 2008, there were other people who wanted to talk about Obama’s heritage for a very different reason: the Corrigan Brothers, an Irish musical trio from North Tipperary. Yes, the Corrigan Brothers (who once went by the name Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys) felt that it was their mission to make Barack Obama’s Irish ancestry known to the world.
So, in 2008, they combined their musical talents and released their single “There’s No One as Irish as Barack O’Bama,” which would catapult them to worldwide fame and would enlighten the world to an important fact: Barack Obama bleeds green.
As it turns out, while John F. Kennedy is the American president most commonly associated with Ireland, Barack Obama does, in fact, have Irish roots. Genealogists have traced Obama’s family history back to a man named Falmouth Kearney, a shoemaker in the small village of Moneygall on the border of Offaly and Tipperary.
A visit to the village of Moneygall today will prove that the Irish have not forgotten about Obama’s Irish roots whatsoever. In fact, the village is like one giant shrine to Obama.
It would seem that Obama hasn’t forgotten about the Emerald Isle either. On a visit to the nation in 2011, Obama addressed a crowd of Irish people, saying, “My name is Barack Obama, of the Moneygall Obamas, and I’ve come home to find the apostrophe we lost somewhere along the way.” Amazing.
Obama’s Irish Roots
In the late 1700s, in the village of Moneygall, there lived a wigmaking family by the name of Kearney. When they started in the business, it was still a profitable one as wigs were popular among the Irish aristocracy.
However, around the start of the 1800s, wigs began to fall out of style and poor Falmouth Kearney, a young man of the family, had to find a new profession.
The Kearney family turned to shoemaking. Unfortunately, this was around the same time that the Great Famine befell Ireland, and Falmouth was having trouble feeding his family despite his best efforts.
A stroke of luck came in 1850 when he discovered that a relative in the United States had bequeathed him a parcel of land. So, at the age of 19, he picked up and caught a “coffin ship” (named for their high mortality rates) from Liverpool to the United States.
Eventually, Falmouth Kearney found himself in Ohio, where he met Charlotte Holloway, an Ohio native and his future wife. The couple eventually settled down in Indiana and had children.
One of their daughters had her own children, those children had children, and then those children had children of their own. Somewhere along that line, Barack Obama came into the world.
Obama in Moneygall
Obama’s Irish heritage has become a major point of pride for the people of Moneygall. So, in 2011, when Barack and Michelle Obama decided to visit the small village and reconnect with Barack’s Irish heritage during a six-day tour of Europe, the people of Moneygall were honored.
Upon Obama’s return to the village of Moneygall, a community with a population of around 300, thousands of people from all across Ireland came to greet the POTUS. Every house in the town of Moneygall was freshly painted for Obama’s arrival. People dressed in red-white-and-blue garb. It was quite a spectacle.
The highlight of the trip, though, may have been when Michelle and Barack stopped into Ollie Hayes’s local pub to share a pint of Guinness with his distant Irish cousin Henry Healy. Of the beer, Obama said, “I tried one of these and I realized it tastes so much better here than it does in the States. What I realized was that, you guys, you’re keeping all the best stuff here.”
After Obama left Ireland, the people of Moneygall have continued to show their undying love for the president. In fact, in 2014, on a highway just outside of the village, they built the Barack Obama Plaza.
The complex, which cost 7 million euros to build, features a bronze bust of Barack Obama as well as life-sized statues of both Barack and Michelle Obama.
There’s even a museum that features things like Obama badges, a Guinness glass that Obama drank out of, and memorabilia from other U.S. presidents with Irish heritage. It might even be niche enough to rival the United States’ own weird tourist attractions.
While the Barack Obama Plaza is definitely an interesting form of flattery from the people of Moneygall, the Corrigan Brothers’s song “There’s No One as Irish as Barack Obama” may be his highest praise to date. Let’s take a look at some of the lyrics of this masterpiece:
“He’s as Irish as bacon and cabbage and stew.
He’s Hawaiian, he’s Kenyan, American too.
He’s in the White House, He took his chance,
Now let’s see Barack do Riverdance.”
I think we can all agree that seeing Barack Obama try to do Riverdance would be among the most wholesome and hilarious things Obama’s ever done. The chorus then goes on to sing:
“O’Leary, O’Reilly, O’Hare, and O’Hara,
There’s no one as Irish as Barack Obama.
From the old blarney stone to the great hill of Tara,
There’s no one as Irish as Barack Obama.”
You read that correctly. Barack Obama is more Irish than all of the Irish people named O’Leary, O’Reilly, O’Hare, or O’Hara. No one can dispute that. Finally, these might be my favorite lyrics in the whole song:
“The hockey mom’s gone, and so is McCain.
They are cheering in Texas and in Borrisokane,
In Moneygall town, the greatest of drama,
For our famous president Barack Obama.”
Not only did the Corrigan brothers feel it necessary to praise Obama, they also took a shot at his political rivals Sarah Palin and John McCain. Obama might want to hire these proud Irishmen if he ever plans to campaign for public office again.