I have never been subject to an embargo before – but now as I write at a minute past midnight on 3rd May the embargo has passed and I can share the news! What news? I hear you ask….Well it seems that the Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is a parishioner of mine! Ok – that’s a bit of an exaggeration but certainly his Great Great Great Grandparents and indeed his Great Great Great Great Grandparents on his mother’s side were – or would have been if I had been around at the time. Somewhat tenuous I know :-)
It all started before Easter when I got a phone call from a researcher in
Searching through these records I found Joseph & Phoebe in the context of baptisms of Fulmouth’s siblings and these entries also provided the occupation of Fulmouth’s father, a shoemaker from Moneygall, Co. Offaly which is within my parish boundaries. I sent all this data along with digital images of the records back to the researcher and other members of the team from Ancestry.com / Ancestry.co.uk who made the initial discovery of Obama’s Irish links back in March.
As if all this were not strange enough; on the day I collected the records in question from my late treasurer’s son I had an unannounced visit from a charming couple from
After a while I returned to see how my visitors were getting on, only to find the lady in tears of joy having found a record she had been trying to trace for 30 years! WOW! Telling my new acquaintance in
Anyway back to Obama. Today was the day for interviews and I reckon I have done about 15 at this stage including prelims for RTE and BBC in the morning. The highlight was a photoshoot with the Irish Indo in the garden this afternoon dressed in my black suit in the sweltering sunshine striking various poses as directed. Not quite Page 3 but equally embarrassing with the neighbours looking over their fences :-)
Following RTE TV running the story tonight I got a phone call from one of my parish secretaries (1 have 4! One for each church) who had some very interesting information about the Kearney family including documents signed by Barack Obama’s direct ancestors! Not only that but he was able to tell me where the family holding was and where the shoemakers shop was probably located. Can’t beat local knowledge.
So what will all this mean for our little parish? – A senatorial or a presidential visit? Time will tell. Either way I am sure we will be delighted to welcome Senator Obama to these parts and show him some good Irish hospitality. I am particularly happy (no relieved) that he is a Democrat, and not just a Democrat but a politician who seems to have an integrity and independence that will not be easily manipulated by the inevitable temptations and opportunities for abuse that all power wields.Mind you Obama is not the only presidential link our parish can boast - Borrisokane parish which is also part of my responsibility frequently enjoys visits from Martin Sheen (aka President Josiah Bartlet of the West Wing) who traces his own family roots to Borrisokane! It's a funny old world!