President Obama’s Bursting into Song is So Irish!
The news today is airing another video of “The Singing Obama” and I think they’ve left out a genetic-ethnic connection related to singing at gatherings and public functions and that’s President Obama’s Irish family history!The first time I went to a formal gathering of political, tourism and business leaders in Ireland, the keynote speaker was the CEO and Chairman of Knock Airport. He gave a very impressive speech. At the end of his speech he said, “In conclusion, I’d like to sing a song for you. . . ” and went on to introduce and sing, acapella, a beautiful traditional Irish song.
My first reaction was shock from the unexpected concluding event. The last thing I expected was to see this very serious gentleman, following a very seriously focused speech, burst into song. Now that I’ve been to dozens, maybe hundreds, of formal luncheons and dinners and forums of all kinds in Ireland or populated with people from Ireland, I’ve learned that the most serious of people burst into song to punctuate their remarks, even when the songs have no relationship to the particular subjects at hand. The first time it happend I was stunned and taken aback and wondered what Americans would think if they went to a formal gathering where the CEO of a prestigious company like IBM punctuated closing remarks with a song. My guess was that someone would call for a resignation or dial 911 for an ambulance from a mental hospital. We are far too zipped into our corporate mentality to see music woven into the fabric of everything we do and everything we care about. I’ve come to realize that music is woven into every thread that makes up Irish life and who could refute that when you can’t ignore the fact that the flag of Ireland is the only nation’s flag with a musical instrument as its country’s symbol. Even Ireland’s iconic brewer adopted the harp as its company’s logo.
So, while it may come as a surprise to some that President Obama has burst into song of late, I think you have to credit his Irish heritage and genetic imprint of those past from Moneygally, County Offaley, Ireland to hold responsible and laud for President Obama’s vocal ease. You can see photos below of President Obama studying the baptismal records of Templeharry Church in Moneygally, with the church’s Canon Stephen Neill, where Obama’s third-great-grandfather’s baptism, baptised as Timothy Kearney, was recorded. I had the pleasure of interviewing Canon Neill and an eighth-cousin of President Obama who lives in Moneygally about the event which you can listen to by clicking here.
The above photo memorializes the gathering of Irish political, tourism and business leaders at a follow-up meeting with America’s travel expert, Stephanie Abrams, rated one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Travel. Taken in the conservatory overlooking Rossnowlagh Beach’s Sandhouse Hotel in Donegal, Stephanie is seated (from left to right) with Failte Ireland’s Martina Bromley, Mayor of Ballyshannon, John Meehan, and, on the right end of the row, Paul McLoone.
These serious businessmen pictured above are seen in the photo below which was taken at Herrons Cove Restaurant in the town of Ballyshannon in County Donegal where the group gathered for a dinner that concluded the several-day long series of meetings, conferences and visits to regions of the northwest of Ireland. In typical Irish tradition, Meehan, left, and McLoone lost no time in joining into the spirit of the occasion to share their unique talents and bring the Irish tradition of adding traditional music to all events. If President Obama joined McLoone and Meehan they’d make it a trio that we can call MOM: McLoone-O’Bama-Meehan! That would be a concert worth attending!
My next trip to Ireland will include more exploration of the Lakeslands region with a special visit to County Offaly and the town of Moneygally. This just may be the trip when I find the wee little cottage. . .or the marvelous castle. . . that I’d like to call “My Sweet Irish Home.”
--Gotta Fly Now!sm
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