Barack and Michelle Obama did all their souvenir hunting in Mary Fanning’s An Siopa Beag in Moneygall.
The US President sprinted into the shop when he arrived in the village and, said Mary “bought round him”.
“He bought some Shannonbridge pottery for his mother-in-law, and Michelle bought two chains for their daughters,” said Mary. “They also bought a hurl with his face on it. They just picked up items.”
Barack bought the pottery, but it was too big for the bag.
“I was holding the bag and he was trying to shove it in. They were just so nice and natural. You could tell he had had a normal upbringing. If he rang your doorbell you wouldn’t think there was anything special about him,” said Mary.
Mary revealed that when the couple came into the shop, her daughter, Tara, was there with her and the Obamas said “Hello. How are you?”
She said Michelle gave Tara and hug and asked her if she had any other brothers and sisters. When Tara said she had a brother, Michelle asked: “Do you fight?”
Michelle told her about her two daughters and Mary said she was sorry afterwards that she had not known in time that the Obamas were coming into the shop or she would have had something special for the girls, but the visit was all kep top secret.
After Barack had bought for his mother-in-law, Mary presented them with some specially commissioned Shannonbridge Pottery mugs commemorating the visit.
Mary revealed that, not to be outdone in the souvenir hunting, when the President went to Ollie Hayes Pub, all the Secret Service agents rushed back into the shop and bought items.
And was she now hopeful that business would remain brisk?
“Hopefully business will continue. The visit has put Moneygall on the map.”
For a full round-up of Obama visit to Moneygall see this week’s Tipperary Star