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
They looked on as George explained the lore behind it, Michelle in rapt attention, the two girls flapping their arms and pulling their sleeves over their hands.
Suddenly, into the sylvan stillness rose a familiar voice from a hummock of bracken. “They’re being eaten alive, Myles, eaten alive!” It was Valerie Cox, broadcasting to the Pat Kenny Show. She wasn’t wrong either.
The scratching entourage gathered for the retreat. They hightailed it to the Upper Lake, where we hope the girls found some respite.
Then it was off to Dalkey. We had to rely on Mary Mitchell O’Connor for updates. She was ensconced in Finnegan’s and tweeting to the world. The Fine Gael TD for Dún Laoghaire is a friend of the owners and taught most of the part-time lounge staff who were looking after the Obamas for lunch.
She tweeted pictures of Bono chatting with the regulars and then pictures of Michelle and Bono. This was the shot everyone wanted. Mary got a photographer’s credit on the front page of this newspaper’s website and the BBC and CNN rang for permission to use her work.
“I went viral,” she said later, making it sound like she’d been bitten by “midgets” too.
Donal Finnegan, who runs the establishment with his father Dan and brothers Paul, Alan and Neil, said later that the Obamas just wanted “the Irish pub lunch experience”.
Michelle had lobster and fresh local fish and real chips. . The children sat at a separate table with Bono’s two boys.
There was a carnival atmosphere outside, with a heady closing time atmosphere inside – dark and giddy, but their guests were allowed their space. They were two hours inside having lunch. Bono mustn’t have had much to say.
Then it was time to go. Michelle got straight into her people carrier, smiling and giving a special wave to the primary schoolgirls from Loreto with their posies of sweet pea and freesia.
Then the media – hysterical from “midget” bites and sunburn – rushed the pub, pinning chef Paul Finnegan up against a wall until he told them about the menu.
Afterwards, Bono and his wife had to be rescued by the local constabulary after the crowd surged inside and journalists lost the plot. The Hewsons squeezed into their Masarati and were engulfed by well-wishers.
“That’s ridiculous. Sure he’s in here all the time and nobody minds him,” harrumphed a neighbour.
“Great for Dalkey, great for Dublin and great for Ireland,” said Donal Finnegan.
And then the party started.