Irish documentary filmmakers find President Obama ancestors burial tomb and re-acquaint him with his distant relatives.
After a painstaking search, filmmaker Gabriel Murray, who was in the process of making a documentary on Obama’s Irish roots, with filmmaker Shari O’Donnell, finally found “Obama’s Lost Tomb” inside the 13th century St. Canice’s Cathedral in Kilkenny, Ireland. The pair made a documentary on their findings entitled ‘Obama’s Irish Roots’ which has since gone on sale around the world.
Murray, along with Cathedral assistant Frances Moore, used a centuries-old map to identify a hidden vault under the floor of St. Canice’s. They deciphered the Latin on the hundreds of tombs inside the vault, when they came across Bishop John Kearney’s resting place, number 19 on the map, just 20 yards from the main entrance.
Obama’s links to Moneygall, County Offaly were established during his presidential run sparking his visit to Ireland, yesterday. Obama gave a speech in Dublin in front of Trinity College, where he said “There’s always been a little green behind the red, white and blue,” which was received with a thunderous cheer in the capital.
O’Donnell, The Producer of the documentary who also plays the part of Phoebe Donovan – Obama’s great-great-great-great grandmother, said she was very excited to be a part of Murrays findings. She said when she began filming the documentary everyone received them like royalty “I was organising filming permits and interviews with extended Obama’s distant relative’s and everyone would just drop everything for us, everyone was bursting to help us as they knew they were going to be a part of something great, it was a truly magical experience”
Obama’s great-great-great-grandfather on his mother’s side, Fulmouth Kearney, was born and grew up there before emigrating to the U.S. in 1850. But Murray uncovered the U.S. president’s links to Kilkenny when he found documentation in the ancient archive department at Trinity College, Dublin, that stated that Bishop Kearney was buried in a tomb in St. Canice’s Cathedral. “To be honest, I still can’t believe that I managed to find it,” Murray said.
“Obama’s Irish Roots,” follows the Kearney family’s 5,000-mile route from Kilkenny to Kansas in 1847 during the Great Famine. The film features interviews with Obama’s Irish relatives in both Ireland and America and features re-enactments of the life of Obama’s ancestors.
The White House has described Mr. Obama’s visit to Moneygall as “a homecoming of sorts” Among those who greeted him were Dick Benn, a fifth cousin once removed, and Tom Donovan, a third cousin three times removed. Henry Healy, an eighth cousin, was also there.