Doonbeg welcomes Donald Trump as ‘new neighbour’

Locals in Co Clare village say presidential ‘one-two’ will be good for jobs

Donald Trump speaks during the Republican  candidates’ debate in New Hampshire in February. Photograph: Reuters/Carlo Allegri

Donald Trump speaks during the Republican candidates’ debate in New Hampshire in February. Photograph: Reuters/Carlo Allegri

 

A red and white “Make America Great Again” peaked cap was hanging on the door of Morrissey’s bar in Doonbeg Wednesday with a hand-written message underneath telling passers-by “Gone Celebrating, Hugh”.

The Trump campaign cap was the only visible sign in the west Clare village of the historic “one-two” that the village had recorded in the shock US Presidential election result.

The man who signed the message is owner of Morrissey’s bar, Hugh McNally who is related to the new Vice President Elect of the United States, Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence.

Governor Pence is a nephew of Mr McNally’s grand aunt and in an interview Wenesday, Mr McNally said: “We are thrilled — not just for the Pences — but for the village of Doonbeg to be associated so closely with a new President of the United States.”

Mr McNally said that he had already been in contact with the Pence family to offer his congratulations after staying up all night to watch the election result unfold.

It is three years since Governor Pence and his family stayed at the resort in Doonbeg and ate at Morrissey’s pub on a number of occasions.

“There are no airs and graces about him. You wouldn’t know he was a Governor. He is absolutely normal, very chatty — a real family man,” said Mr McNally.

“We might all go over to the White House when they are there.”

Two miles away down the road at the Trump resort, General Manager, Joe Russell said: “To have the number one and two in the White House — it is going to be good for the resort. You can see the impact Obama had on Moneygall.”

Mr Russell added: “From my own experience from what I have observed, Mr Trump listens, he takes other people’s opinions into account and then he makes a decision and gets on with it.

“I know there is a media persona that you see but when it comes to decision making and comes to hard work and energy, he is massive in that regard.

“There is no doubt about it, he will have an impact on America and America needs a good shake-up and I think he will do that.”

Earlier in Turbridy’s bar in the village, local man, John O’Dea said: “I’m very happy this morning. It is great to wake up and realise that your next door neighbour will be the next President of the United States.”

Mr O’Dea added Mr Trump’s win “is absolutely brilliant and it will put Doonbeg on the global map”.

The chairman of Doonbeg Development Company said that Trump’s win “will bring recognition to Doonbeg and I’m sure Trump will invest further in his golf resort here”.

Donald Trump is a good businessman. He set out to win the election and he won the election. He has surrounded himself with the very best people,” Mr O’Dea said.

The nearby Trump resort — rescued from receivership by the Trump Organisation nearly three years ago — is the largest employer in the area providing an annual multi-million euro spin-off to Doonbeg and west Clare.

One of those to benefit is owner of Tubridy’s bar, Tommy Tubridy who said that in the day before voting that the “silent vote” would win it for Trump.

At his pub Wednesday where he was serving early morning coffee to the tired “election-watchers”, Mr Tubridy said: “I’m delighted. Trump’s win is going to be very good for Doonbeg and for the whole of the county of Clare.”

He said: “I am just happy that he has got through and I think the majority of the people of Doonbeg - 99.9 per cent of them - are behind Trump.”

Mr Tubridy believes that the Trump win “will be good for jobs here and more jobs will come on stream”.

The publican said that he expects Trump to visit Doonbeg during his four year Presidency. “I think he definitely will come — he loves the golf — he has invested €5m here — hopefully, he will be coming back.”

Holding a blue Trump “Make America Great” banner aloft, Brendan Walsh admitted: “I am so happy with the Trump victory.”

A native of Co Mayo, Mr Walsh is married to local woman, Margaret Stack and has been coming to Doonbeg for the last 40 years.

A building contractor, Mr Walsh has been living in Boston for the past 46 years and voted for Trump before his return to Ireland for a holiday.

He said: “I am totally delighted that he has made President. I think he will do a fantastic job. He is a man of his word. He is a good family man. He has got great kids and I think he will do exactly what he said he is going to do with no BS. He will just get on with it.”

However, the jubilation at Trump’s triumph in the village wasn’t universal. Local woman, Rita McInerney admitted to being “in shock” at the Trump win.

She said: “I think it is bad myself. It is great for Doonbeg because it puts the focus back on the village with the Pence connection as well, but if you look at his foreign and trade policy, that can only be bad for Ireland.

“It is good for Doonbeg, but I am concerned for the country and the world.”