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Barack Obama: A Connection to Ireland

Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, holds a special place in the hearts of many around the world for his leadership and charisma. However, one aspect of his diverse heritage that particularly resonates in Ireland is his Irish ancestry. This connection is not merely a footnote in his family history but a celebrated aspect of his identity, underscored by his visit to the small Irish village of Moneygall, an event that highlighted the deep ties between Obama and the Emerald Isle.

Obama's Irish Roots

Barack Obama's Irish roots can be traced back to the tiny village of Moneygall in County Offaly, located in the heart of Ireland. His great-great-great-grandfather, Falmouth Kearney, emigrated from Moneygall to New York City at the age of 19 in 1850, eventually making his way to the Midwest, where the future president's family line continued. This lineage was unveiled through genealogical research, shedding light on a direct link between one of the most powerful leaders in the world and a modest Irish village.

The Visit to Moneygall

In May 2011, during his presidency, Obama visited Moneygall with his wife, Michelle, in a momentous occasion for the village and for Ireland as a whole. The visit was characterised by scenes of jubilation, with the Obamas warmly welcomed by locals and visiting the home of Obama's ancestor, as well as the local pub, where the president famously enjoyed a pint of Guinness. This visit was not only a personal pilgrimage for Obama but also served as a symbol of the strong historical and cultural bonds between Ireland and the United States.

Obama Plaza

The visit had a lasting impact on Moneygall, leading to the development of the Obama Plaza, an €8 million service station and commercial complex that opened in 2014. Situated near the village, the Plaza serves as a tangible testament to the connection between Obama and Moneygall. It includes a visitor center that commemorates the president's visit and explores his Irish ancestry, serving as both a local amenity and an attraction for those interested in the unique bond between the former president and this Irish community.


Barack Obama's Irish roots and his visit to Moneygall are more than just an intriguing aspect of his diverse family history; they are a reminder of the interconnectedness of our global community. The establishment of Obama Plaza as a lasting monument to this connection underscores the profound impact of Obama's lineage and presidency on Moneygall and Ireland. Through this heritage and visit, Obama's story resonates with themes of migration, identity, and the universal search for belonging, bridging the Atlantic to connect the histories of two nations.

Information on the origin of the Kearney Surname.

Please Note

There is often limited information available on a specific coat of arms and motto for an Irish surname. Sometimes there are many variations, sometimes none, we have compiled a representative, but by no means exhaustive, selection. Please visit our Coat of Arms and Motto page for more information.

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