First ladies gush at Gaiety stage of visit
Miriam Lord’s week
US first lady Michelle Obama with Moya Doherty and Fionnuala Kenny at a performance of Riverdance at the Gaiety Theatre last Monday. Photograph: Eric Luke
And speaking of slobbering . . .
Here’s the Taoiseach’s wife, Fionnuala Kenny, introducing the guest of honour at Monday’s special performance of Riverdance in the Gaiety Theatre: “The first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, is certainly a woman of real substance: warm, intelligent, beautiful, caring, energetic, fun, a great dancer too . . . and I could go on and on!”
Did we detect a hint of mischief in Fionnuala’s delivery? She couldn’t keep a straight face by the time she got to the dancing bit.
Not to be outdone – but without a trace of irony – Mrs Obama replied: “I wanna start by thanking Fionnuala Kenny, who’s been such a wonderful friend. And for all the wonderful things you said about me, it is doubled.
“This woman is gracious and funny and warm and kind and has just been truly open-armed to me and it has meant so much to have her friendship and her hospitality. So I want us to give Mrs Kenny a wonderful round of applause. She’s one of the reasons why I came back as well.” The two of them left the stage hand in hand. Seriously.
Meanwhile, differing reports of what the first lady had to drink emerged on Tuesday after she lunched with Bono in Finnegan’s pub.
If some of the wildly inaccurate reports supposedly emanating from the hostelry were true, they would have had to carry her into the armoured car and send her back to Barack in Belfast.
In fact, all she had with her lobster and fish ’n’ chips was a “sip” of Guinness and one small glass of pinot grigio with her meal.
Next to the pub, the crowd outside the late Maeve Binchy’s front window was in high spirits. “Oh, but Maeve would have loved this,” agreed the Dalkey ladies waiting for a glimpse of Michelle.
At one stage, one of her entourage emerged from Finnegan’s holding a credit card, swiftly returning with a different one in his hand. “Oh, dear God. I hope it wasn’t declined,” trembled one of the Dalkey ladies, as her friends nodded gravely in agreement. “How mortifying.”
One member of the large travelling party stood out from the rest. His achingly on-trend outfit, designer shades and velvet slip-ons (no socks) fascinated onlookers. This Wesley Snipes lookalike was the custodian of the first lady’s make-up bag – a key member of her team. Over the two days, we never saw him without that bag. We instinctively knew that man would take a bullet for Michelle’s lipliner.
We recognised Martin Mackin, former general secretary of the Fianna Fáil party, waiting outside the pub with the suits. Turns out that Martin, who is now a big wheel in the world of corporate PR, does some work for U2 and he was keeping an eye on Bono.