President Obama and his wife Michelle are visiting the United Kingdom and Europe. In between what must be some pretty intensive discussions about how to better run the world, the first couple are seeing the sites and tasting the tastes.
Obama’s Irish Ancestry
The trip began on Monday in Ireland where Obama was greeted like a long lost relative, which it turns out he is. Along with 37 million other Americans, Obama can trace his ancestry back to Ireland. The president’s great -great-great-grandfather, Falmouth Kearney, on his mother’s side was from a small town about forty miles from Dublin called Moneygall in County Offaly.
“This is a homecoming of sorts for President Obama,” Ben Rhodes, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications said. “He’s very excited to see this small town in Ireland from which he has roots, and we’re very much looking forward to seeing some of the people of Moneygall and making a stop there.”
On Tuesday Obama arrived in England where Queen Elizabeth and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh welcomed the president and the first lady during a formal ceremony at Buckingham Palace. There was one awkward moment when during a toast to the Queen the orchestra began to play before the president was finished with his statement. Rather than pausing and waiting until the music stopped, Obama continued on, oblivious to the displeasure the Royals seemed to feel while the president continued talking during the playing of their country’s anthem, “God Save the Queen.” (In America the tune is called ‘My Country ‘tis of Thee.’)
Living in the Past?
After lunch with Her Majesty, the Obamas visited Westminster Abbey, where there was held a wreath-laying ceremony at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior. Curiously, the date that president Obama put to the guest book in which he wrote “It is a great privilege to commemorate our common heritage, and common sacrifice” was May 24, 2008. Its true 2008 was a good year for him, but not THAT good.
That’s Real Good Wine
Dinner with the Royals later that day was a treat even for the mega -wealthy, apparently, where $1,000 a bottle wine was sipped along with their fabulastic dinner. Among the more ordinary wines in the $150 to $200 per bottle range which were served was a bank-busting specialty, an Echezeaux Grand Cru 1990, Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, estimated to be worth between $1,000 and $1,700 a bottle in the US.The Obamas will spend Wednesday in England, leaving for France on Thursday for a meeting of the G8. From France the trip continues to Poland, where the Obamas will spend time in Warsaw on Friday and Saturday.