an unforgettable call to arms

Irish Independent: His voice, that velvet-rich, immense voice, rose and soared and his words were carried by the wind down Dame Street, around College Green, up towards Christchurch, over the sea of people who had come to hear him.

“Is féidir linn. Yes we can. Yes we can. Is féidir linn,” Barack Obama called into the late afternoon as the electric air crackled around him … A massive cheer rumbled and rolled down the carpet of humanity crammed into the city centre.

They were still so powerful, those three small words that swept him into the White House on a wave of hope and a desire for change … And they lost none of their magic as they tumbled in Irish from the lips of one of the most extraordinary orators of our times.

It’s hard to see where all that power and poetry is contained in the slender frame of the 44th President of America, but on a blustery night in Dublin city, his charisma warmed the chilliest soul.

….Enda was only half way through his speech when a bone-rattling roar erupted in front of him. And out on to the stage, hand-in-hand, strode Barack and Michelle Obama, waving and smiling as a chant of “Obama, Obama” echoed around the buildings.

….Slowly and gracefully, the speech built momentum and Obama wove together the shared experiences of Ireland and America and paid tribute to the generations of immigrants who travelled from this country – as did his own great-great-great grandfather from Moneygall in 1850 – to put down roots in his land.

…Waves of emotion poured from the crowd, many of them young people who have suddenly found themselves facing bleak options at a time when their dreams are shattered.

Before the final cheers had quite subsided, he was down in front of the stage, shaking hands, cuddling babies, signing autographs, shooting the breeze.

…Obama didn’t let us down, and he left us with his unforgettable call to arms. “Ireland, if anyone ever says otherwise, if anybody ever tells you that your problems are too big, your challenges are too great and we can’t do something, that we shouldn’t even try, think about all that we’ve done together, remember that whenever hardships the winter may bring, springtime is always just around the corner.

“And if they keep on arguing with you, just respond with a simple creed – Is feidir linn. Yes we can.”

….he touched us all.

Full article here



29 Responses to “an unforgettable call to arms”

  1. 1 MTmarilyn
    May 24, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Good morning, Chips and TOD family. I went for a swim this morning so I have missed most of the first goings on. I know I will be able to catch up with all your wonderful diaries and comments. I am still on a high from yesterday. What a day. Today is another high. This is all so exciting. Sure helps because today it is very deary, clouds and rain.

    I love the write up of Obama’s speech. Now to read all the rest.

    • 2 Dorothy Rissman
      May 24, 2011 at 12:00 pm

      Marilyn, I am still thunderstruck. That speech brings back so many memories. I have watched the clip over and over. Thanks Chips for bringing all of these wonderful photos and information.

  2. 3 sherijr
    May 24, 2011 at 10:13 am

    That Ollie is quite a doll. I love Moneygall and I really hope this visit by President and First Lady Obama does add some oomph to their economy. One thing we can be absolutely certain of- if he told them he’d be back with Michelle and the girls- he will definitely be back. More than anything I think it is beyond wonderful that Barack Obama has found family~ and that they are so in love with he and Michelle- I don’t doubt he will always have a home there. His mama and grandparents would be thrilled I believe.

    • 4 dotster
      May 24, 2011 at 11:06 am

      Agree, sherijr. I love Moneygall too, the quality of the people there, the warm embrace they gave to our First Couple. I am not surprised one little bit that they fell head over heels for President Obama, won over by his easy, engaging manner and his “irresistible charm”. It was a beautiful treat of a day. The only shame is that the fullness of it, the beauty of it, was kept a secret from the American public. Only little snippets were reported, mostly about The Beast getting stuck, Michelle’s hair blowing in the wind, and a photo of Obama enjoying the Guinness. They all sorta missed the point.

  3. 5 VC prezOfan2
    May 24, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Good morning, MT, Chipsticks and the rest of the Gang! Yes siree, I too am on a high! I wonder if Ms Chips can be charged for whatever she is feeding us? 😉 Like you MT, I want to go over the goodies from yesterday, after I catch up with today’s treats. The fact is that we get so much to feast on from Mother Chips and her busy video elves, that it is always a marathon to catch up when you have to miss a few hours – not that I’m complaining! 😆 😆 Off I go to warm up for today’s race.

    Have a terric Tuesday, Chipsticks and fellow TODers!

  4. May 24, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Okay, the girl who wrote this is much worse than all of us….;););)

    Thanks Chip, and please let me say what a brilliant job you did yesterday. I know how personal this day was for you, and you knocked it way out of the park.

  5. 10 donna dem 4 obama
    May 24, 2011 at 10:16 am

    My Governor, Martin O’Malley (who I think will be the Democratic Nominee in 2016), wrote a wonderful oped in the IrishTimes


    Here is some of the article..

    As diverse cultures, we struggled as migrants. That struggle led us both to the White House, writes MARTIN O’MALLEY

    AS BARACK Obama visits Ireland for the first time as president, I am reminded of a simple gesture of kindness that altered the course of American history.

    In October 1960, Dr Martin Luther King jnr was roused from bed in the middle of the night on trivial charges stemming from his protests against racial segregation. King was denied bail and sentenced to four months of hard labour in a Georgia prison camp, which many feared he might not survive, either by lynching or by a convenient “accident”. This was not, on the turbulent surface of the times, John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s problem. The Massachusetts senator was locked in a close race for the White House. If he had any chance to win, he needed to keep the support of white Southern Democrats – Southern Democrats who, for the most part, hated everything that Martin Luther King stood for.

    Yet JFK, without a flicker of cynicism, picked up the phone and called King’s pregnant wife, Coretta, offering her comfort and his help. When Kennedy’s campaign managers found out, they were livid and figured it a thoughtless act that could well cost the election.

    But empathy is a powerful energy in the art of politics. It is a signpost of deep character. And it is this depth of character that has been displayed for a couple of centuries by generations of African Americans and Irish Americans – two people, deeply and properly linked.

    On that day, in 1960, Kennedy linked with King. The signal was clear: the civil rights movement would have a powerful ally with Kennedy in the White House. And the African American community responded by providing the votes needed to elect the first Irish Catholic president. The course of history changed. Black merged green and green merged black.

    Irish-Americans and African-Americans dropped their hyphens . . . and once again became one.

    • 11 sherijr
      May 24, 2011 at 10:26 am

      Thanks for sharing that Gov. O’Malley article Donna. Its nice to know this about him- his thinking, I am moving to Maryland at the end of summer- so I am even more pleased.

    • 12 PoliticalJunkessa
      May 24, 2011 at 10:28 am

      Thanks for that, Donna. What a BEAUTIFUL article.

    • 13 meta
      May 24, 2011 at 10:35 am

      LOVE your governor, Donna! He has a terrific future ahead, hopefully coming forward in 2016!!

    • May 24, 2011 at 11:50 am

      You think so too? Glad I’m not the only one. Other than myself, and here just now, I haven’t seen his name floated anywhere else. I think he should definitely be considered for 2016.

    • 15 Dorothy Rissman
      May 24, 2011 at 12:07 pm

      Thank you for this. The article is wonderful. Your governor seems to be a good, honest man who cares deeply about others.

  6. May 24, 2011 at 10:19 am

    SHH, you are not supposed to tell anyone that the President is over seas. Its a SECRET! You know, The American MSM is to busy propping up the GOP Pretenders…

  7. 18 Me4obama
    May 24, 2011 at 10:21 am

    I am still hangover from the Ireland visit. I wish he stayed longer. I was thinking about how the life of Henry the 8th will never be the same. Life is good.

  8. 19 JoAnn
    May 24, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I got goosebumps just reading this.

  9. 20 Carma Cook
    May 24, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Very nice pics. I am so proud of our President and First Lady. I am sure they are enjoying Europe.

  10. 21 taiping1
    May 24, 2011 at 11:11 am

    The moneygall.com website is great. Henry VII gives a tour if the town; Ollie Hayes’ proprietor is interviewed, Tipoff O’bama reel and, of course, great t-shirts!
    Thanks Chipsticks and BWD for great coverage. NYT buried it on inside pages.

  11. 22 AnitaW
    May 24, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Watching the BBC live feed and just saw pictures of Michelle battling the elements again. This time dress and hair, but she’s smiling so I’m guessing she’s holding her own.

  12. 23 Carolyn
    May 24, 2011 at 11:49 am

    The Irish writer has it right: “One of the most extraordinary orators of our time…..power and poetry.” And the Irish know about poetry! I’ve been thinking a lot about his poetic gift, and where it came from. I see two strong links coming together in him: the Irish and the African. Both cultures have a strong tradition of the poetic storyteller, the bard. We think of Martin Luther King for the African, but every African-American preacher I’ve ever heard carries that tradition in him, and JFK had the gift of the Irish, and now our beloved PBO combines the two…..the Irish sense it and responded to it. Some people try to claim “empty words” NOT SO!!! Words have power, and he backs up all his words with actions. Everyone sounds pedantic and dull next to him.
    President Clinton was a good speaker, but cannot compare to PBO. Clinton went too long usually…..PBO knows that power is not length, it is what you say and how you say it.
    I am so thankful that I have lived long enough to enjoy and appreciate this gifted man.

    • 24 dotster
      May 24, 2011 at 11:54 am

      Me too!

    • 25 Dorothy Rissman
      May 24, 2011 at 12:08 pm

      Me toooo!

    • 26 M
      May 24, 2011 at 1:26 pm

      Well said Carolyn! Honestly….did Clinton ever make a speech in his entire history as a candidate/President that can compare with anything ever said by PBO? I was much younger at the time and did not pay as much attention to Politics, but seriously the words from him that keep coming to mind involve The Monica situation. I was very surprised yesterday when those on TV in Ireland before PBO spoke kept reminiscing about the great Clinton speech there on college green. I’d say now they will no longer reminisce about Clinton.

  13. May 24, 2011 at 11:51 am

    I really liked listening to Enda Kenny also. Great speaker. Very energizing.

    • 28 M
      May 24, 2011 at 1:29 pm

      Yes, gobrooklyn, me too! IMO it seemed like PBO really enjoyed listening to another great orator. His introduction of PBO was the best I have ever seen!

  14. 29 GGail
    May 24, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    This is a great article! I don’t need to say anything else but…it’s GREAT! And thank you again Chipsticks for the work you put in to bring IRELAND to us first hand.

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