Irish celebrate Obama appointment

Ireland toasted the inauguration of Barack Obama as US president tonight with whiskey, bread and even a radio station renamed in his honour.

In celebrations not seen since John F Kennedy took control of the White House, homes, workplaces and pubs came to a standstill to watch the new American leader sworn in.

Distant relatives gathered in Moneygall, Co Offaly, where Mr Obama’s ancestors lived in the 1800s, while Democratic Party faithful living in Ireland threw a bash in Dublin.

Others around the country wasted no time cashing in on the new president’s Irish roots and the global celebrations that met his march into Washington.

Cooley Distillery, based in Co Louth, dedicated a special cask of its award-winning whiskey to Mr Obama.

Assured of his success, the company said the single malt would be fully matured in time for his retirement eight years away – predicting another four-year term in office for America’s first black president.

The distillers said they would present Mr Obama with a bottle of the whiskey in the future, while specially-produced miniature bottles were sent to the Irish American Democratic Inauguration Ball in Washington as mementos.

Not to be outdone, breadmaker Pat the Baker produced special batches of its barmbrack – an Irish fruit bread – and renamed it BarrackBrack.

Oliver Durkin, brand manager with the company, said the batches were delivered to the US embassy in Dublin as well as to shops and supermarkets around the country.

“One man from Donegal phoned me this morning looking to order a dozen to send to his relatives in America,” he said.

“It’s a bit of fun, but it does mark an historic moment that has captured the imagination of the world.”

Regional radio station i105-107FM, based in the midlands where plans are being discussed to turn Mr Obama’s Irish ancestral homestead into a museum, changed its name to Obama FM to mark the inauguration.

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