Posts Tagged ‘sheridan


‘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….







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March 2023