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Mayor of Kilkenny writes to Obama and hopes he'll visit next year

Seán Ó hArgáin has congratulated the US President on a second term and wants him to come to Kilkenny if he makes another trip to Ireland.

Obama enjoying a pint of Guinness on his last trip to Ireland in May 2011.
Obama enjoying a pint of Guinness on his last trip to Ireland in May 2011.
Image: Maxwells/PA Archive/Press Association Images

THE MAYOR OF Kilkenny has extended an invitation to re-elected US President Barack Obama to visit the city if he returns to Ireland in his second term.

Seán Ó hArgáin has written to the White House to see if Obama would include Kilkenny on his itinerary if he returns to Ireland in the next four years and hopes it could happen before his mayoralty comes to an end next June.

“Obviously the last trip was limited,” the Labour Party councillor told TheJournal.ie today. “But there would be a hope that it might be a little bit more open next time, there might not be the same pressures in the second term.”

Ó hArgáin said that Obama’s great-great-great grandfather, Falmouth Kearney, may have had connections to the Offaly village of Moneygall where the US president visited last year but Kearney is connected to Bishop John Kearney – who would be Obama’s sixth generation great granduncle – who is entombed in St Canices Cathedral in Kilkenny.

“He [Bishop Kearney] was a very prominent Church of Ireland bishop and I think he was a teacher in Trinity at some point. Genealogists have done a lot of work on finding a link to Obama.”

The Mayor says that he is a long-standing Obama supporter and as a Labour Party member would have “sympathies with the Democrats” as would his family in Boston.

He also revealed a bet he made seven years ago on Obama ending up in the White House.

“I made a few bob on him in 2005,” he said.

“I read his book in the States and got handsome odds from Paddy Power that he would win the 2008 presidential election. I got 100-1 to on him and I had €20 in my pocket so I was more than happy to collect the winnings!”

Ó hArgáin said that he was awake until 5.30am following the results of the US presidential election on Tuesday and Wednesday last and sent a letter off to the US on Friday but he is yet to receive a response.

Last time: “I finished the pint, so if anybody asks!” – a behind the scenes look at Obama’s Ireland visit

More: “Are you ready for one Mr. President?” – Barack Obama has a pint with his relatives in Moneygall

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Hugh O'Connell

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