President Barack Obama put the little town of Moneygall, Ireland, with its population of approximately 300, on the map today. A local religious leader discovered Obama’s roots could be traced to a great-great-great grandfather believed to have been baptized at his church there. Mr. Obama’s visit today sent the town into a flurry of preparation (and gimmicks) in honor of its famous “son” – arguably the most powerful man in the world. Here are some highlights of that prep:
Moneygall’s Protestant minister Canon Stephen Neill was the one who made the connection between Obama and his ancestor Falmouth Kearney, according to the Associated Press. Mr. Kearney was baptized in a nearby church in the now mostly Catholic area. An American genealogist following the Obama family tree called Minister Neill in 2007, who then delved into the town’s birth and baptism records. Mr. Neill estimates that Obama is 5 percent Irish. That’s “enough,” he says to celebrate him: When Obama won the 2008 election, the town held an all-night party in the local pub.
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