He down a pint of Guinness with a far-away cousin and checked out centuries-old parish records tracing his family to Ireland. From the tiny village of Money gall to a huge, reassuring crowd in Dublin, President Barack Obama opened his four-nation trip through Europe on Monday with an unlikely homecoming far detached from the grind politics of Washington and the world.
"My name is Barack Obama, of the Money gall Obamas, and I've come home to find the apostrophe we lost anywhere along the way," a clearly tickled Obama — make that Obama — told the spread out throng at Dublin's College Green with his wife, Michelle, right by him. "We suffer very much at home."
Obama's feel-good immoderation in Ireland came at the start of a four-country, six-day trip that is bound to get into stickier matters as he goes. The only hindrance on day one was the exposure of a volcanic ash cloud from Iceland that led the president to leave Ireland with no even a night's stay and land in England on Monday night.