Obama statues unveiled

Pictured at the Barack Obama Plaza, Moneygall, are the former president’s chief speechwriter, Cody Keenan, Supermac’s MD, Pat McDonagh, and sculptor Mark Rode. Mr Keenan officially unveiled a Mark Rode statue of the former president and first lady, Barack and Michelle Obama. PHOTO:  Michael Dillon

Pictured at the Barack Obama Plaza, Moneygall, are the former president’s chief speechwriter, Cody Keenan, Supermac’s MD, Pat McDonagh, and sculptor Mark Rode. Mr Keenan officially unveiled a Mark Rode statue of the former president and first lady, Barack and Michelle Obama. PHOTO: Michael Dillon

Barack Obama’s chief speechwriter unveiled a Mark Rode statue of the former President and First Lady, Barack and Michelle Obama, at the visitors' centre at The Barack Obama Plaza today.

Keenan is best known in this country as the author of the iconic ‘Is Féidir Linn’ speech which was delivered by former President Obama on College Green in Dublin during his visit here in 2011. Keenan has been a speechwriter for Barack Obama for more than a decade, rising from a campaign intern in Chicago to director of speechwriting at the White House.

The scuplture was created by Mayo man Mark Rode, the sculpture was commissioned by Supermac's Pat McDonagh, in recognition of the popularity of The Barack Obama Plaza as a stopping point on the M7 Motorway.

McDonagh says there is still a deep connection between Barack Obama and the Moneygall area.

“A lot of tourists who come to our Barack Obama Visitors' Centre are keen to learn about his connection with the area. These are tourists from all over the world and they might not have known about his ties to the region. This statue of Barack and Michelle will help to strengthen the understanding of those ties.

"I am delighted with this statue by Mark Rode and I am particularly delighted that the former president's chief speechwriter, Cody Keenan, was on hand to unveil it.”

Mark Rode, who studied art in Australia, set up a studio and bronze foundry in rural Mayo in 1998. He has completed many public sculptures, including the Quiet Man statue in Cong, The Kerry Football statue in Tralee, the Tour de France statue in Enniscorthy, the Titanic Memorial in Laherdane, and the Thomas MacDonagh statue in Cloughjordan.

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