Skip Global Navigation to Main Content

President Obama’s Irish Connections

By Mark Trainer | Staff Writer | 11 May 2011
Barack Obama waving to crowd (AP Images)

Barack Obama, then a candidate for the Senate, waves to the crowd at the St. Patrick's Day parade, March 13, 2004, in Chicago.

Washington — When President Obama, alongside Taoiseach Enda Kenny, in March announced his intention to visit Ireland, he remarked, “I’m expecting to go not only to all the famous sites, but also to go to Moneygall, where my great-great-great-great-great grandfather hails from.” Falmouth Kearney, an Irish immigrant who came to America in 1850, is the man to whom the president referred. The president’s mother, Ann Dunham, was a descendant of one of Kearney’s daughters.

John F. Kennedy also took time during his visit to Ireland — the first by an American president — to visit his family’s ancestral home.

Although the website Ancestry.com estimates that Obama is just 3.1 percent Irish, Irish Americans, according to Politico, have “become fixated with turning Obama into O’bama.”

(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/iipdigital-en/index.html)