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On a journey to find 'his inner Irishman' - how the US media is reporting Obama's visit

The US president has come to our shores to engage in a custom well-known to his predecessors, according to the US media that have accompanied him on his Ireland visit.

Obama steps out of his limousine at the Áras earlier today.
Obama steps out of his limousine at the Áras earlier today.
Image: Paul Faith/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE US PRESIDENT is in Ireland and the world’s media is watching including a large White House press pack that has accompanied Barack Obama, as is customary during foreign trips.

The New York Times reporter Mark Landler writes that Obama is carrying out “a familiar pilgrimage for an American president: returning to a country that lays claim to being one of his ancestral home.”

Landler writes that having landed in “blustery conditions” the US president is off to find “his inner Irishman”, and in doing so is retracing the steps of the likes of John F Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

The visit is described as “a brief respite” in a week filled with tensions in the Middle East and the deadlock between Israel and Palestine.

Writing in The Washington Post Scott Wilson notes that the tone of the visit is very much a ceremonial one noting that the visit to Moneygall will be one of the few events of his four-nation, six-day tour of Europe where Obama “will spend time with everyday people.”

Wilson writes that Obama was presented with a hurley by Kenny, describing it as a “roughly yard-long paddle used in the ancient Gaelic game of hurling.”

In the Los Angeles Times Christi Parsons writes that before Obama “gets down to the hard stuff” he will “indulge” in a bit of “Irish-roots politics” that was so loved by his predecessors.

Parsons adds that the trip to Moneygall is welcomed by the tiny village which sees “its own possibilities for prosperity in the connection” with Obama as the home of his great-great-great grandfather, Falmouth Kearney.

Reuters reports that the visit of Obama offers a welcome distraction from the financial woes that have garnered much of the global focus on Ireland in recent years.

Finally on the US political website Politico, Carrie Budoff Brown notes that it is Ireland which will be footing a “hefty bill to provide security for President Obama.”

But it quotes the Irish ambassador to the US as saying that the cost of securing the event will be far outweighed by the “economic advantages”.

Obama’s Irish visit: A timeline >

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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