Tuesday, May 24, 2011

First Lady Gets A Lesson In Pulling A Pint

Behind the scenes at Ollie Hayes' pub in Moneygall, Mrs. Obama tries her hand at a traditional Irish skill...
On Monday afternoon during President Obama and First Lady Obama's visit to Ollie Hayes' pub in Moneygall, there was a little bit of behind-the-scenes fun, according to the photo, above. Mrs. Obama ventured to the working side of the bar to get a lesson from Hayes in the delicate art of pulling a pint. The moment was captured by the President's own official photographer, Pete Souza, and appeared late Monday in the official Flickr.

"I hear there's an art to it," President Obama said to his drinking companions about pulling a Guinness. They readily agreed, and told the President that Hayes is an expert.

Earlier, during the pub meet n' greet with newly met relatives and village notables, the President and Mrs. Obama had quizzed Hayes about stout protocol, so it makes sense that the First Lady would want to learn how to do a proper pull. Plus there's big Obama interest in beer: Their White House chefs are the first in more than 200 years of history to be homebrewers. (Above: A month later, this of the pint pulling lesson was also posted to the White House Flickr)

"You tell me when it's properly settled, I don't want to mess this up," President Obama said, after Hayes presented him with a pint topped with an excellent head. "I want to get it perfect."

Small talk was made until the moment to drink arrived.

"Slainte," President Obama toasted, all Irish, before taking his first sip.

Mrs. Obama quaffed a half pint of the black, while President Obama drank most of his full pint, much to the delight of the crowd.

He is the sixth US president to visit Ireland. The others were John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, who visited three times, and George W. Bush.

The Obamas flew back to Dublin after the pint pulling lesson, so the President could address more than 25,000 roaring Irish on College Green. The Icelandic volcano eruption forced a change in plans: Rather than spending the night in Dublin, the presidential couple departed on Monday night for London, after a private dinner at US Ambassador Dan Rooney's residence. They spent the night at Winfield House in London, home of the US Ambassador to England. The State Visit with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II begins Tuesday. The schedule IS HERE.

*Photos by Pete Souza/White House. Updated.