So he hails from a town called Moneygall which has been variously credited to Co. Offaly, Co. Laois and Co. Tipperary. I’m opting for the one a stone’s throw away from the town I grew-up in. If he’s elected, he won’t be the first American President with Irish roots. Considering the fun that was had when JFK and Ronald Regan visited here in the past, I’m hoping Mr. Obama is successful today.
Many moons ago I worked as an au-pair for an Irish-American family in Connecticut. A year or so later they decided to come to Ireland for a visit and stay in South Tipperary, where I joined them. While we were driving around, we passed a sign for Ballyporeen; whereupon the Dad exclaimed: “See kids, that’s where the last great American President came from”. I nearly got sick!
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not casting aspertions on my former employer’s politics. I was in my early twenties at the time and had only a scant understanding of what Republican meant in relation to American Politics (obviously, the word has a very different meaning to someone growing up in Ireland).
Recently I’ve had concepts like Regan Democrat explained to me, so I have a better understanding of what Regan means to Americans, from either side. But for me Ronald Regan conjures up the image of a bogeyman. As a child growing up it was terrifying to contemplate that HE was the man with his finger on “the button”. It must be the same for my neices and their friends, growing up with Bush at the helm for the past eight years.
Anyway, as the song goes: “It’s a long way to Tipperary” and perhaps it’s a reach to claim Mr. Obama for ourselves but is it a long way from Ballyporeen to Moneygall?