Two events will be held in the city and county next week to mark the inauguration of Barack Obama as the first African-American to become president of the United States.
In Kinvara, the Merriman Hotel in Kinvara is hosting a special Obama Night Celebration. Kicking off at 5pm, the hotel will offer live TV coverage of the inauguration as it unfolds, as well as offering US-themed bar food such as burgers, ribs and of course apple pie, like Momma used to make.
Paul Bennett of the Merriman Hotel explained how it came about. " We got some phone calls asking if we could tune our TVs to the Washington Celebrations on Tuesday night, and we thought why not push the boat out and have a special Obama Night as if we were at it!
“We have three new TVs and we will tune them to US and European news channels for best coverage." Paul continued, "I've worked in the States and am familiar with Fourth of July celebrations where we'd have ribs, burgers, salads plus of course apple pie…. And we thought let's go for it."
As well as celebrating the inauguration, a raffle will take place on the night for the Galway-based Charity COPE. COPE has been offering social services in Galway since the mid-seventies catering for older people, homeless people and victims of domestic abuse – so it was felt fitting that this local charity should benefit from the event.
"Everyone in South Galway and North Clare (or indeed further afield ) is welcome to come along. The event kicks off at 5pm, with some Americans who live locally telling me that they'll come along with their children so that they can experience this historic occasion. The raffle will take place at 9.30pm and we hope as many people as possible can come along for a fun evening and to contribute to a locally-based deserving charity,” said Mr Bennett.
Meanwhile the newly formed Americans in Galway Organisation will mark the inauguration of Barack Obama at The King’s Head on Tuesday, starting at 4pm. The inaugural ceremony begins at 4.30pm and will be televised live during the event on large screen television.
AGO spokesperson Brooke McDermott said the new organisation is not just a political organisation, but also a social network. The core group of founding members were inspired by the grassroots ‘change’ parties that are occurring throughout the US through the Obama organisation’s website www.mybarackobama.com and www.moveon.org
“Like most Americans, I found it difficult to be an American living abroad under the Bush administration,” said McDermott. “The hope symbolised by the Obama election, coupled with a desire to network with like-minded Americans and serve the community of Galway, gave birth to the concept of starting an organisation for Americans living either permanently or temporarily in Galway.”
AGO intends to launch a newsletter and website to connect members to social gatherings, as well as provide information and advice on everything from finding a good doctor to where to get the best New York-style pizza. Future plans also include the group adopting a Galway community service project inspired by Obama’s www.USA service.org.
For more information about AGO email [email protected]