Obama's Irish roots
June 18th, 2013
01:38 PM ET
2 years ago

First family (minus the president) lunch with Bono

(CNN) – What's a visit to Ireland without a pub lunch alongside Bono?

First lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia partook in the quintessentially Irish experience Tuesday, joining the U2 front-man at Finnegan's restaurant in Dalkey, a posh suburb south of Dublin. Bono and the Obamas arrived and left the restaurant separately.


The first lady and her daughters are on a tour of the Republic of Ireland while President Barack Obama meets with world leaders in County Fermanagh in the North.

The Obama women visited Dublin's Trinity College on Monday, taking in the historic Long Room in the university's library. It houses a massive collection of Irish archives and historic documents, the most famous of which is the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the Gospel created by Celtic monks in the ninth century.

Speaking later, the first lady told a crowd of Irish dancers that daughter Sasha thought the imposing library room at Trinity was reminiscent of Hogwarts, the fictional wizard school in the Harry Potter novels.

"It's a huge room with shelf after shelf full of books; a beautiful place, and I hope that all of you aspire to go there, if not study there, but just to go and experience what it's like to be surrounded by so much history and so much power," the first lady said.

Trinity College - founded as a Protestant university in the sixteenth century – holds an important place in Ireland's history. Regarded as a symbol of the Protestant Ascendancy of the island, Catholics were banned by their church from attending until 1970.

The real reason for the Obamas visit to Trinity was a genealogical exploration of their Irish heritage. The president's Irish roots have been well explored in the years he's been in office, and in May 2011 he visited Moneygall, in central Ireland, to visit the town his great-great-great grandfather emigrated from in the nineteenth century.

"The girls had a chance to explore those shelves and trace their Irish lineage, which was a very powerful thing to find out that these girls that were born on the South Side of Chicago can trace their roots back here to Ireland, way back to the 1600s," Michelle Obama said Monday. "That was very powerful for me, as their mother, and hopefully it will be something that they cherish for the rest of their lives."

Ahead of their lunch with Bono Tuesday, the first lady and her daughters took a tour of the Wicklow Mountains south of Dublin, including a stop at Glendalough, the countryside monastic sight that was the home of sixth-century hermit St. Kevin.

At Finnegan's Restaurant in Dalkey – a Dublin suburb situated on the Irish Sea – the Obamas would have chosen from a menu that includes Irish specialties like smoked bacon and cabbage, cottage pie and breaded Galway scampi.

The Obamas' visit to Dublin came just after one of the city's biggest celebrations – Bloomsday, celebrated June 16, marks the calendar day when James Joyce's "Ulysses" takes place. In Dalkey, the first lady was within a stone's throw of the Sandycove Tower, where the first episode of "Ulysses" is set.

Michelle Obama and her daughters join the president later Tuesday for the second leg of his European trip in Berlin.


Filed under: Ireland • Michelle Obama
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Richard Long

    The sound of millions of dollars being flushed down the toilet by the First Family is deafening. Michelle and the kids should have stayed home. Total disregard for the US taxpayer. Refresh my memory... We got hit with the sequester... Where is the Obama family trip money coming from?

    June 18, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Take in a Guiness while you're there Madam First Lady.

    June 18, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  3. Data Driven

    "Moochelle"
    Hate
    Celebrity
    Hate
    Vacation
    Hate
    Golf

    Spared you the trouble, wingnuts

    June 18, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. Fair is Fair

    It's good to be the king.

    June 18, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    James Joyce's "Ulysses"
    --------------------------------
    Spoken about significantly in Deniro's "The Good Shepherd."

    June 18, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  6. PC

    You better not let the GOP see this photo.

    June 18, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. Wake up People!

    I love the First Lady and the First daughters, however I cringe when I think about the nasty posts that are sure to dominate this right wing site.

    We know, we know, no other First family in history traveled and or vacationed.....

    Laura Bush bought her clothes at KMart why isn't that good enough for empress Obama??

    Oh yes, and they all flew coach. No other First Family ever traveled in AF1.....

    June 18, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. Tom

    It is a good living if you can get it, telling everyone else what to do and how they should live while you live the rich life, Bono and the Obama's should get along well

    June 18, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. 1108

    I wonder if Bono picked up the tab or we did.

    June 18, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  10. Borderless

    Not. News.

    June 18, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. Malory Archer

    Tom

    It is a good living if you can get it, telling everyone else what to do and how they should live while you live the rich life, Bono and the Obama's should get along well

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    You sound a little jealous there Tom. Perhaps you should have studied harder and gotten into college, or formed a band.

    June 18, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  12. Guygyl

    True–it is a waste of my money and yours too....

    June 18, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  13. Thomas

    Romney would have paid for his trip in cash and used his own corporate jet ?

    Enjoy your trip to the G8 summit Mr President.

    June 18, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  14. Wake up People!

    You gotta love the RWNJ's that comment here..... They never fail to disappoint!

    June 18, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. Marie MD

    @richardlong, not probably from the same place that keeps the rethugs in congress not furloughed while still doing absolutely nothing for the country while thousands of fed government employees dont get paid.
    Let me try another venue,probably from the same money that Nixon used to go to,Florida and your fake god Reagan partied in California, or the first bush spent going to Maine, or the second bush spent 1/3 of him presidency in that ugly ranch in Texas cleaning it up.
    That being said, let's not forget that the Obamas are the First Family that ever dared to leave DC or go on vacation. I mean how utterly uppity can you get.
    Get a life haters!

    June 18, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    you people...they have money...DAMN...

    June 18, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  17. kayla

    awesome, just awesome

    June 18, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  18. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Total disregard for the US taxpayer.
    ----------------------------------------
    While you're singing that tune, you may want to look at gov. McDonnell of Virginia.

    June 18, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  19. ArizonaHeat

    Do what I say, not what I do.
    Way to pinch a penny there (expletive self deleted).

    June 18, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |