Wednesday, December 14, 2016

8. Offaly - Obama Plaza

First came the Declaration of Independence, which found ‘that all men are created equal’. Then, Abe Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address argued that ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth’. After this, there was Martin Luther King’s dream ‘that one day’ his nation would ‘rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed’. And later still, Barack Obama promised that ‘yes, we can’. Finally, there came Obama Plaza.
While it might be a little far-fetched to draw a direct line of descent from America’s Founding Fathers to a fuel court just off the M7, there is the slightest hint of a connection.
This is because, nine-score and two years ago, Barack Obama’s great-grandfather, Falmouth Kearney, left the small Irish parish of Moneygall, County Offaly, for the United States in search of prosperity. Settling into a log-cabin in Ohio, he might not have become the most successful emigrant Irishman to cross the water but he did set off a chain of events that one day would lead the 43rd President of the United States back to his ancestral homeland in Ireland. And it is here, back in Moneygall, that Barack Obama pulled a pint of Guinness, shook every hand in the village and gave inspiration for what might well be the classiest service stop in Ireland – a place you can ponder the American Dream as you fill your tank full of diesel.*
*That Moneygall’s Obama Plaza station is actually within the county boundary of Tipperary and not Offaly is just a small little snag, not unlike Barack Obama saying he is from the United States but actually being born in Kenya. (What? He was born in Hawaii? You mean Donald Trump was wrong?!)

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