IT started as a low-key evening meal, but by the time Michelle Obama and her children had finished their dinner, hundreds had come to see them off.
The US First Lady arrived at Matt the Thresher seafood bar and grill on Pembroke Street in Dublin yesterday at 6.40pm. She was accompanied by her daughters Malia and Sasha and the group arrived in a motorcade of around 14 SUVs.
At the door of the restaurant they were greeted by its owner Jimmy Lyons and his sons Ted (10), Marcus (8) and James (17) along with his wife Charlotte.
"You're so welcome to Matt the Thresher, to Dublin and to Ireland," he told the Obama family as they entered the restaurant.
Inside, Michelle enjoyed a starter of oysters and ordered sautéed prawns in a garlic, chilli and white wine sauce accompanied by avocado and mixed-leaf salad. The girls shared a jumbo prawn salad for starters.
For a main course one had fish, truffle and parmesan chips while the other ordered a shepherd's pie. "The first I heard of it was a call I got last night. I was told I might have a very special guest arriving," Mr Lyons said.
"Matt the Thresher was one of a number of restaurants that was under consideration for the Obama family's dinner," he added.
He was not told why his restaurant was chosen.
Mr Lyons said he had secret service agents in the restaurant yesterday morning. "It was a bit surreal really," he added.
"They wouldn't tell me what time they were coming or anything.
The restaurateur also told the agents that he had bookings for the evening and asked if his customers could keep the tables that they had reserved. Luckily for the diners, he was told that they could do so.