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“There’s No One as Irish as Barack Obama” TikTok, Explained


Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

Most TikTok audios are catchy, but “There’s No One as Irish as Barack Obama” is literally impossible to get out of your head.

If you’re not already on “Irish Obama” TikTok, the jig-worthy Irish folk tune’s chorus goes like this: “O’Leary, O’Reilly, O’Hare and O’Hara, there’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama.” The song, which first appeared on TikTok in May, is still in a niche corner of TikTok. However, the sound is blowing up fast. Videos under the sound have more than tripled in the past few days, from about 500 videos to over a couple thousand, and the top videos under the sound have nearly a million views.

Half of the videos under the sound are people complaining about how hard it is to explain being on “Irish Obama” TikTok to their friends—and most people don’t seem to know why they’re on Irish Obama TikTok to begin with—so Washingtonian has put together a helpful explainer for the confused.

 

@malindamusic Meanwhile…. #irish #irishtiktok ♬ There’s No One As Irish As Barack Obama – Live – Na Fianna

Where did the song come from?

The song has been around since Barack Obama was first elected President in 2008. It’s by the Corrigan Brothers, who are most well-known for this particular song but have released other bangers about American politicians with Irish ancestry like “Joe Biden’s Irish Home” and the as-yet-unfulfilled prediction “He’s Gonna Be President, Martin O’Malley.” (The O’Malley song uses the exact same tune as the Obama song). However, the audio on TikTok is actually a live cover from another Irish band, Na Fianna.

Is Barack Obama actually Irish?

He might not actually spell his name O’Bama, but the 44th President does have Irish ancestry. As the full song says: “His grandaddy’s daddy came from Moneygall.” Moneygall is a small Irish village home to just 313 people. Obama’s maternal great-great-great grandfather, Falmouth Kearney, emigrated from Moneygall to New York City in the 19th century as a teenager, eventually settling in Indiana.

Does Obama know about the song?

Not only does Obama know the song exists, he heard the Corrigan Brothers perform it at his inaugural parade and waved to them. During his 2011 Ireland visit, he even gave the song a shoutout. “Now, I knew that I had some roots across the Atlantic, but until recently I could not unequivocally claim that I was one of those Irish Americans,” Obama said. “But now, if you believe the Corrigan Brothers, there’s no one more Irish than me.” Obama also visited a pub in Moneygall while drinking Guinness.

How do the Irish feel about Barack Obama?

Moneygall, in particular, loves Obama. One resident called Obama his “long-lost cousin” when he visited; the resident isn’t actually Obama’s cousin, but Obama does have a distant cousin living in Ireland named Henry Healy, who met with the President in Moneygall.

The town’s sign calls itself “The Ancestral Home of Barack Obama” and Moneygall is home to “Barack Obama Plaza,” a deluxe rest stop that opened in 2014. The visitor’s center showcases a bust of Obama, a giant photo of Healy with Obama, and souvenir coins of Obama and President John F. Kennedy, whose Irish heritage is perhaps more well-known.

The New Yorker reported in 2016 that the town seriously considered building a Barack Obama Hotel. The village is also home to an Obama Café, an Obama-themed bike ride, and an annual Obama Country Fest. Ollie Hayes Bar, where Obama got that Guinness, is covered with photos and memorabilia of the former President. The bar has a bust of Obama inside and the sign out front bears a photo of him drinking his pint.

The Corrigan Brothers even filmed a sequel to “There’s No One as Irish as Barack Obama” with Moneygall residents ahead of Obama’s 2011 visit to celebrate the President’s return to his great-great-great grandfather’s ancestral home.

Wait…there’s a sequel?

Yep. It’s called “Welcome Home President Barack O’Bama,” and it’s glorious.

Grace Deng



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