Friday, November 09, 2012

Four More Beers: President Obama's Irish Cousin Henry Healy Celebrates Reelection With Guinness

The President's eighth cousin is the biggest celebrity at a rollicking Election Night party at the Guinness Storehouse, hosted by the US Embassy Dublin...
In May of 2011 President O'bama made a triumphant pilgrimage to his tiny, ancestral Irish village of Moneygall, County Offaly, where he got a hero's welcome as he met long-lost relatives for the first time, including his closest relation, eighth cousin Henry Healy.  In a moment watched around the globe, the President and his extended family toasted their centuries-old bonds with pints of Guinness at the village pub.  Healy later visited the President at the White House during St. Patrick's Day weekend this year, and they again shared pints of Guinness at DC pub The Dubliner.  On Election Night, there was more Guinness flowing when the US Embassy Dublin hosted a rollicking party at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin to celebrate the President's win.  Healy was of course the biggest celebrity at the shindig. (Above:  The President and Healy at the White House last March; the shirt reads "Yes we can!" in Gaelic)

"Ok extremely weird walking down Grafton street & people shaking my hand & congratulating me!" Healy wrote on Twitter after the party, when his cousin was confirmed for four more years.

Healy, 28, was last with President Obama when he attended the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in September.  In Dublin, the US Embassy pulled out all the stops for the party, inviting hundreds of guests, including Irish Senators  Lorraine Higgins and Ivana Bacik, and Teachta Dála member Sean Connick to the Storehouse, the company's flagship headquarters.  (Healy, above, at the Storehouse party)

Red, white and blue decorations mingled with green and orange decorations, the colors of the Irish flag.  Guests quaffed pints of Guinness and snacked on finger food.  Giant-screen TVs were tuned to US stations to watch the election returns across the pond.  There were life-size cardboard cutouts of both the President and Mitt Romney for photo ops.  Check out the US Embassy Dublin's Flickr for Election Night photos.

In a video taken at the Embassy party, Healy comments on the election as ballots were still being counted.  "I'm nervous and excited," he said.  "We won't know until the fat lady sings."

In 2011, Guinness credited the President's Moneygall pint with boosting visits to the Storehouse, a popular tourist attraction, by more than 10% for the year, a nice uptick for the suffering economy.

President O'bama's Irish roots were first revealed by genealogists during the 2008 race, and he is related to three families that still live in Moneygall.  Falmouth Kearney, the President's great-great-great-grandfather on his mother's side, lived in the village before emigrating to New York in 1850.  The lineage dates back to 1761, when Sarah Healy, Henry Healy's ancestor, married Joseph Kearney, the great-great-grandfather of Falmouth Kearney. Above, the President at The Dubliner in March of 2012, enjoying a pint with Healy and Ollie Hayes, who owns the Moneygall pub where the President had his family reunion.

*Top and last photo by Pete Souza/White House; second photo and video from US Embassy Dublin