President Obama, Moneygall and the Great Hunger
The current residents of Moneygall, County Offaly are eagerly awaiting the arrival, on Monday, May 23, of President Barack Obama.
A historical resident of this village, now home to about 300 people, was the President’s great-great-great Grandfather, a man called Falmouth Kearney. Falmouth was the son of the village shoemaker and he emigrated, at the age of 19, to New York in the year 1850. This was, of course during the time of the Great Hunger (or “Famine”) and a time when American cities were filling with Irish people fleeing from starvation and the diseases that lack of food brought on. Out of horror comes hope and these good people were to play a major role in building America into the great nation we have today.
“The Irish helped forge the very promise of America…. Irish hands have signed our founding documents and fought in our wars. They’ve helped build our greatest cities. Through tragedy and triumph, despite bigotry and hostility, and against all odds, the Irish created a place for themselves in the American story.” – President Barack Obama
As the people of Ireland, with pride in the visit by a President of Irish ancestry, hope it will boost tourism and hope it will motivate them to strike out anew during these troubled times there is one more “Hope” to put on the table. Let us hope that President Obama will stop, during his visit, for just one moment to cast his mind back to the terrible times when his own ancestor left Ireland and let’s hope he acknowledges the Victims of the Great Hunger with a few words in tribute to their sacrifices. This will mean much to Ireland, Irish America and the rest of the Irish Diaspora.