Wednesday 20 September 2017

Golden ticket holders gear up for a very special lock-in

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

HENRY Healy is the real-life 'Charlie Bucket' who got his hands on a golden ticket.

There are no chocolate factories in Moneygall but Ollie Hayes's bar is the venue where everyone, but everyone, wants to be on Monday afternoon.

When US President Barack Obama arrives in his ancestral village, he will be paraded up the Main Street from his ancestral home.

Villagers have been told they will have to leave Moneygall and travel to the outskirts before going through security checks and re-entering Main Street on the day.

Over 2,500 tickets have been issued to the people of the parish.

However, the real golden tickets were numbered 0001 and 0002 -- and Henry Healy and Canon Stephen Neill have those in safekeeping.

The Irish Independent understands Mr Obama will hold a private meeting inside Ollie's bar in Moneygall with the people who have championed him.

He may also meet other distant relations, such as Tom Donovan from Co Tipperary.

Others permitted to be inside Ollie's include the publican himself, who has been training to steady his hand and pour the "perfect pint".

The question on everybody in Moneygall's lips is whether the US president will drink it.

Even though only a small number of people will be handpicked to enter the pub, numbers will be swelled by secret service agents.

It is understood that thorough background checks have already been carried out on all 'civilians' who will be present.

Mr Obama is not expected to address the public in Moneygall.

However, he will spend time there meeting his distant relations and villagers will be able to see him walking through the Main Street.

There continues to be a massive security presence in the tiny village, where up to 60 men and women have been preparing logistics and protection ahead of the US president's arrival.

Irish Independent

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