As enthusiasm in Ireland builds for President Obama’s visit next week, talk about his Irish roots has been popping up all over the internet. In the years since Megan Smolenyak and Stephen Neill confirmed the president’s link to Moneygall, County Offaly, new family ties have been uncovered.
While Moneygall stands at the center of Obama’s Ireland visit, links to his Kearney ancestors go even further back to a nearby community.
The village of Shinrone, about 10 miles from Moneygall offers the oldest documented link to President Obama’s family history. His great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents Joseph (born in 1698) and Cicely Kearney, are buried in the churchyard there along with many members of the Kearney family.
Shinrone has at least one other link to a US President. Edward Hand moved from Shinrone to the United States where he played an important role in the American Revolution and became a close friend and supporter of George Washington.