I woke up this morning to dulcet Irish tones in my ear, along with some cheerful jiggy Irish music on the radio. I like a nice Irish tone and a lively jig very much in the general way of things, but this was a different kettle of potatoes altogether. These boys were telling me that there was no-one so Irish as the new, about-to-be-inaugurated, 44th President of the United States of America. I have to say that this was news to me. Who knew? But there it was. 'O'Leary, O'Connell, O'Brian, O'Hara--there's no one so Irish as Barack O'Bama'. Listen to The Corrigan Brothers for yourselves if you don't believe it.
Obama is not my President. I am a Brit with the blood of a Celt. But somehow, today, I feel that he is. In this terrible time of gloom and depression he seems to be a beacon of hope for the future of us all. So today, at 5pm UK time, I shall be watching as he takes that inaugural oath on a historic Bible--and there will be a good feeling in my heart, and probably a tear in my eye. I so very much like the way that he harks back to and respects history--taking Abraham Lincoln's route to Washington; serving the foods Lincoln liked at the dinner. Somehow, bringing America's great past into this present future has given it a new and as yet uncharted meaning. History is important. None of us should forget that. But I also love the fact that yer man could grin like a delighted schoolboy as he yanked on the train whistle and that iconic wavering, mournful note--the sound that signals the progress of so many long and pioneering journeys across the States--rang out. 'How cool is this?' was written all over his face. At the start of this most historic journey of all, I wish you luck, and good 'cess, Mr Obama. I wish it for all of us. And I am delighted that your Celtic roots have been uncovered at last. Perhaps you are truly a man for all nations. I hope so with all my heart.