One of the last places you would expect a grand tribute to a U.S. president would be in the middle of Ireland; as it turns out, the country has an entire rest area plaza dedicated to former President Barack Obama.
TikToker Naomi Hogan was vacationing in Ireland and shared a video documenting her visit to Barack Obama Plaza. The Irish comedy folk song “There’s No One as Irish as Barack Obama” plays in the background throughout the clip.
As Hogan explores the service plaza, she highlights American-themed memorabilia scattered in the area. She shows a vintage car with an Obama-themed license plate and a bronze statue of Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama holding hands.
American viewers were shocked and amused by Ireland’s striking declaration of love and appreciation for President “O’Bama.”
“I’m sorryyy?!??? LMAOOOOOOO,” a TikToker commented.
“WHAT DID OBAMA DO IN IRELAND,” someone questioned.
“Is there … a reason?” another wrote.
TikTok user @buckydeservedbetter10 posted another video displaying more features of Obama Plaza, specifically the Obama-themed decor inside the rest stop’s main building.
Highlights of the building include: a cardboard cutout of Obama Photoshopped onto a soccer player, an Obama-themed souvenir coin machine, magnets of various former U.S. presidents and life-size cutouts of Barack and Michelle Obama. The building also has a museum dedicated to Obama’s life and the U.S.-Ireland diplomatic relationship.
TikTok users who have also visited the Obama Plaza commented to share their experiences.
“When I went, our tour guide was OBSESSED. He spoke higher of Obama than he did of the queen of England,” a TikToker commented.
“When I visited in December, that was the first place I was taken to on the drive back from the airport,” another wrote.
Why is there a Barack Obama Plaza in the middle of Ireland?
The Barack Obama Plaza is in the middle of Ireland’s M7 highway, which connects two major cities within the country: Dublin and Limerick. However, just a short distance from Barack Obama Plaza is the rural town of Moneygall, where a genealogist traced the former president’s great-great-great-grandfather’s origins.
According to an article by Insider, Obama even visited a pub in Moneygall in 2011; his gracious attitude toward the village residents cemented him as a popular public figure for the Irish people. After learning of his Irish lineage, Moneygall now proudly labels itself as “President Obama’s ancestral village.”
TikToker Ariel Viera also shared this informational clip on how Barack Obama Plaza came to be.
“[It] goes to show that sometimes, a very big name could just visit any random town and suddenly becomes a tourist destination,” Viera said.
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