Things come to a head as Moneygall publican awaits special barrel of brew

Sat, May 14, 2011, 01:00

GUINNESS IS sending its chief master brewer to Moneygall in Co Offaly tomorrow to present publican Ollie Hayes with a specially selected barrel of the black stuff ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit.

“On Sunday morning we are bringing down the master brewer from St James’s Gate. We met him in Diageo headquarters, he’ll be here on Sunday morning at 11am and he will present me with the barrel of brew,” Mr Hayes explained.

Despite local rumour, the president’s secret service failed to appear in Moneygall yesterday. “They are expected in the town shortly,” Mr Hayes admitted.

The local publican is anxiously awaiting their arrival. “Things are coming to a head now and most of the planning is done, all pending the approval of the advance security. We will co-operate fully with them because it will be in the interest of the safety and security of everyone.”

As excitement builds ahead of the US president’s visit, Mr Hayes’s pub has become a mecca for Obama fans and curious visitors.

“Nothing is set in stone until we get the approval of the secret service – it’s not even set in stone that he is coming here,” Mr Hayes added.

One regular visitor is delivery man Joseph Kearney. Despite sharing the same name as Barack Obama’s fourth great-grandfather, Moneygall’s bread delivery man, Joseph Kearney, has never researched his ancestral roots.

While delivering Barack’s bracks for Pat the Baker in Moneygall yesterday, the Borrisokane native said he was the only Kearney in the locality.

“I’m coming into Moneygall with bread for 32 years,” Mr Kearney explained, “I never bothered looking into it but there in the last few weeks people are saying why don’t you look into it.

“At the same time if I did dig back there could be something there.”

Across the road, 80-year-old publican Julie Hayes has been taking all the activity in her stride. “I’ve never seen anything like this, I am 63 years behind the bar. I don’t mind at all, it’s grand I’ll go with the flow.”

Ms Hayes is expecting to be busy working behind the bar for the presidential visit. “Unless he comes in I’m not going to get a glimpse of him, I’m hoping he’ll come in,” she said.

A number of secret service agents visited Hayes’s pub in April.

“A certain number of them came in here to me. They were very quiet, they didn’t say much they just had a look around,” said Ms Hayes.