Monday, May 23, 2011

The Presidential Homecoming In Moneygall

Thousands of people crowded along the main drag into the village of Moneygall shortly after 3:00 PM local time as President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrived in what was home to the President's great-great-great grandfather, Falmouth Kearney. The villagers and thousands of others had been waiting in the rain for close to three hours to see President Obama arrive, after weeks of wild excitement over the visit. The First Couple worked the rope line, and also met President Obama's eight cousin, Henry Healy, and town officials. (Above: The President in action with the crowd)

The President and First Lady were greeted with shouts of "welcome home!" "Oh my god, he's coming!" a woman shrieked in the crowd.

The crowd had been issued special "golden tickets" to be on hand for the Presidential homecoming. (Above: The President greets cousin Henry Healy as Mrs. Obama looks on)

The President and First Lady got out of the motorcade, and shook hands with hundreds of people as they walked up the roadway to the stone house where Falmouth Kearney lived in the 1850s before emigrating to America during the Great Famine.

The crowd, 15 feet or so deep behind metal barriers, sang a football cheer, pool reported. Children sat on their parents' shoulders. Onlookers craned their necks to catch a glimpse of the President, who slowly worked the rope line. Babies were handed over for kissing.

John Donovan, a shopkeeper, funeral director and farmer who owns the ancestral home, told pool: "I'm so nervous I can't talk."

As the rain began again, the President and First Lady ducked into the Kearney home, then returned to shake even more hands.

*Photos by Pete Souza/White House