25
May
11

‘vigour, zest and character’

Irish Times: Nothing quite prepares a person for the sight of the President of the United States wandering so close. Or the impish look in his eye as he gladhands his way through the wheelchair enclosure and coolly takes the phone from Jessica Walls to say “Hi” to her mother Glynis, minding her business in her Skerries kitchen, cooking spaghetti Bolognese. No point in pretending to be objective.

Just surrender and swoon. “I was 10 yards from him”, crooned Liz O’Donnell (a former member of the Irish parliament). And? “What a beautiful man. He’s gorgeous, he walks like a Kenyan – they have such elegant body movement….”

Psychologist Maureen Gaffney raised the tone just a tad by quoting Edmund Burke. “Obama is a natural aristocrat. He is emotionally pitch perfect. Burke called it the natural aristocracy – people of unbelievable vigour, zest and character…..”

Suddenly the interminable hours of standing and waiting were a distant memory … “Ah, it’s a bit like childbirth”, sang a middle-aged Clare woman, “you forget all the pain when you get this – God, I don’t know – this MIRACLE put in front of you”.

…This, as a man told his small daughter, is “what you’ll be telling your grandchildren about. . . that you saw Barack Obama with your own big brown eyes”.

And here he was … Gazing out from his bullet-proof glass screens to a 50,000-strong crowd crammed in the reserved area in College Green, the American president had them from the moment he announced he was Barack Obama – “of the Moneygall Obamas. And I’ve come home to find the apostrophe that we lost somewhere along the way”.

From somewhere in the crowd came the roar, “I’ve got it here!”

“Is that where it is?”, asked the president.

“Some wise Irish man or woman once said that broken Irish is better than clever English,” he went on, to loud applause. “So here goes:  Tá áthas orm bheith in Éirinn – I am happy to be in Ireland! I’m happy to be with so many a cháirde”…

“God, the Irish language is going to power ahead after this,” said Maureen Gaffney. Liz O’Donnell marvelled at how he pronounced all the syllables in “orm”. He and Michelle were feeling very much at home, he said “even more at home after that pint that I had. . . Feel even warmer”.

…A man nearby muttered wearily about the “Paddywhackery”. But it was “charming”, argued his wife. “But he’s saying nothing,” insisted the husband. “Oh give us a break – he’s feckin’ beautiful,” retorted the wife. The husband, sadly, had no answer.

…As the crowds broke up, they walked lightly to the rhythm of upbeat American marches, and it wasn’t just the women. “That crowned a perfect week,” said Fine Gael TD Andrew Doyle as he headed home. “I detest hero worship but I don’t mind worshipping such a hero,” said Cathal Grennan….


20 Responses to “‘vigour, zest and character’”


  1. 1 SUE DUVALL SMITH
    May 25, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    I COULD NEVER SURVIVE MEETING THE PRESIDENT…FLAT OUT…ON THE FLOOR!!!!! MEDIC?????????????????????????????

  2. 2 Theo67
    May 25, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    The Irish high is still going strong, I see! They are adorable. 🙂

  3. 3 Me4obama
    May 25, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    I wish that woman in the red jacket was me. Liz O’dennel you speak for so many ladies here at the TOD family. Yes he is gorgeous, beautiful and has an elegant body. Good night family see you tomorrow for more Michelle awesomeness.

    • 4 africa
      May 25, 2011 at 9:43 pm

      Now compare this to that tripe Maureen Dowd was said to have written today. After reading snipets of it today, I had no stomach to click on her link. I think she was really looking for clicks. How she could come up with the jibbersh she writes time and again is nauseating.

      Oh, BTW, her foolhardy column, I bet is no comparison to this little gem.

      Go figure.

  4. 5 M
    May 25, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Wonderful Chips, thank you for that!

  5. 6 sherijr
    May 25, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Those Irish sure do know how to turn a phrase- pure poetry when they write about our President. Love this:

    “I detest hero worship but I don’t mind worshipping such a hero,” said Cathal Grennan….

    and this:

    Just surrender and swoon

    and this:

    “Obama is a natural aristocrat. He is emotionally pitch perfect. Burke called it the natural aristocracy – people of unbelievable vigour, zest and character…..”

    He and Michelle are just natural period.

    • 7 Theo67
      May 25, 2011 at 9:49 pm

      So true – I’ve loved reading all the Irish commentary on the visit – it’s so literary and song-ish. Absolutely lovely – and so wonderful to hear nice things being said about President Obama in print. What a change!

    • 8 dotster
      May 25, 2011 at 10:09 pm

      “emotionally pitch perfect” rang a clear bell with me. So so true. Also got a kick out of the woman comparing her experience to childbirth—you forget the pain—and this miracle is put before you. I think I’ve got a soul sister in Ireland.
      Thanks chips, for this added little delight.

  6. 9 Betsey
    May 25, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    I think the Edmund Burke reference is wonderful — “people of unbelievable vigour, zest and character…..” The last four weeks have been head spinning, and he (and she!) just keep going and going, with flair, verve, dedication, intelligence in every move. Amazing. I’ve been really busy and not commenting, but so enjoying all the posts and the comments and, since I’m half Irish, especially loving the Irish bits. Thanks for your own unbelievable vigour, Chipsticks! You’re amazing, too.

    • May 25, 2011 at 10:15 pm

      Ha, love your half-Irish side Betsey. Ah, and the other half too! 😉

      • 11 Anonymous
        May 26, 2011 at 11:56 am

        Murtaghs from Westmeath, Chips. As soon as I drove into the county the name was all over the place. My husband took a picture of me in a bog, since he says I look like I came out of one. That may not sound so great to the non-Irish, but from an
        Irishman (Cavan) (or at least from this one!) it’s a compliment.

        • May 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm

          “My husband took a picture of me in a bog, since he says I look like I came out of one.”

          😆 Love it! Thank you for the laugh, say hello to the Murtaghs from Westmeath!

  7. 13 Asher in Boston
    May 25, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Lol. These Irish are really fun people.

  8. 14 NewCenturyWoman
    May 25, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    This news article is written so beautifully–almost poetic. It puts our so called journalists in the U.S. to shame. 😦

  9. 15 NewCenturyWoman
    May 26, 2011 at 12:05 am

    Oh, and that picture of the lady in the red jacket–it is so touching. She appears to be holding the President’s face in her hands as if he is a son she has always wanted but never had. And he seems to be looking at her as a reminder of his mother who might have grabbed his face the same way upon returning home after a long separation.

  10. 16 Titti
    May 26, 2011 at 5:34 am

    Lovely comments. That ‘jealous’ husband who had no comeback to ‘he’s feckin’ beautiful’ LOL. Thanks Ireland.

  11. May 26, 2011 at 11:13 am

    This is wonderful Chipsticks. The other parts of his trip are and will be wonderful to watch and hear about, but the trip to Ireland is something magnificent. I think this country is simply more Irish than all the rest of the wonderful ethnic peoples who came here. I’d like to see a comparison of how many Irish immigrants there were to the US during the 1900s to all the others. They were all wonderful — look at the Italians and Sicilians, the Poles and the Scandinavians and numberless others — but the Irish seems to have thoroughly slipped their way into our DNA and stayed there.

  12. 18 barb
    May 26, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    I have been basically speechless this whole Irish trip. It has touched a cord in my heart. The love, the smiles, the singing, the laughter and the poetic way of speaking. What a lovely place to be. It has touched me deeply and I don’t have the words to express what it has meant for me. It goes much deeper than words. Somebody is going to have to slap me and say, “Barb, snap out of it”.

    • 19 UT Austin Liberal
      May 26, 2011 at 2:23 pm

      Virtual Slap….. “Barb, snap out of it” 😀

    • May 26, 2011 at 2:36 pm

      “Somebody is going to have to slap me and say, “Barb, snap out of it”.”

      😆

      I’m working on a video of the Irish trip at the moment Barb, I’m almost weeping my way through it!


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