Midges make the most of Obamas at Glendalough
A tour of the monastic site was followed by a trip to Dalkey for lunch with Bono
US first lady Michelle Obama and her two daughters Sasha and Malia fight off an unwelcome attack of midges at Glendalough. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire
Glendalough – a wondrous place of myth and mystic beauty where the “midgets” are the size of horses and would ate ya alive without salt.
We were warned about them in advance. “They’ll be going down to see the Deer’s Stone, but we’ll be pulling everyone out if the midgets start causing problems,” said a garda.
It’s no wonder the CIA men looked so nervous, with all this talk from their Irish counterparts of ferocious “midgets” descending the Wickla mountains and feasting on the blood of innocents.
How were they supposed to know there is a major problem with the pronunciation of the word “midges” in Ireland? It must have been very confusing for them.
Under the circumstances, it was very brave of the Obama women to venture into the open at all. In the end, the vicious “midgets” caused havoc and sent them running for cover.
Young Sasha and Malia, behaving as any teenage girls would, pulled faces and told their mother they wanted to go.
“Bloody midgets,” cursed one of the guards, “they’re a menace.” But the photographers were delighted. At least they got a reaction.
Oh, but Michelle Obama’s second day in Ireland was great fun. From the “midgets” in Glendalough to Bono in Dalkey, a sort of madness took over in the summer sun.
The tone was set in Wicklow. “Have a good day!” said smiling local gardaí stopping the cars.
At the venue, bags were sniffed by dogs and everyone was told to line up so they could be “wanded”.
”I beg your pardon!” shrieked the ladies of a certain age. A metal detector “wand” was then flourished about their persons, setting off all manner of alarms. “That would be the wiring in your bras, ladies.”
We wandered down to the stalls beside the Glendalough Hotel. Stallholder Mick Quinn was hoping Michelle and her girls might call down for a browse of his jumpers and tea-towels. If they did, he was confident of making a sale.
“I’d sell prams to nuns,” he said confidently.
It was a beautiful day, as Bono might have sung were he present, but he was waiting in his Dalkey local for the arrival of his pals from the White House.
Finally the motorcade arrived. With a battalion of security suits in tow, the media was led along a forest path and positioned on a mucky knoll from where there was an excellent view of the ancient graveyard, round tower and St Kevin’s Kitchen.
The first lady and her daughters, with George McClafferty of the Glendalough Visitor Centre acting as their guide, ambled into view. It was a beautiful, tranquil scene among the ferns and scented summer honeysuckle. There was a hush in our little glade. Birdsong provided background music. The small group came closer to the mythical Deer’s Stone.