Sunday 18 February 2018

Mountain tour for Obama family

Bono leaves Finnegan's Pub in Dalkey where he had lunch with the US First Lady Michelle Obama
Bono leaves Finnegan's Pub in Dalkey where he had lunch with the US First Lady Michelle Obama

US First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters have begun a private guided tour of the Wicklow Mountains National Park as their whistle-stop visit to Ireland draws to a close.

The sun beamed down on the hills above the twin lakes at Glendalough as Mrs Obama and Malia and Sasha walked through the famous monastic site.

The girls were given a lesson on the ancient ruins by local tour guide George McClafferty.

The valley, in the heart of the Wicklow mountains, offers some of the most popular rural landscapes in Ireland and is a well-worn tourist path for visitors to the east coast.

The president's youngest daughter, 12-year-old Sasha, batted swarming midges away from her face as the trio learned about the legendary Deer Stone.

Mr McClafferty told the Obamas the tale of a wild doe appearing before St Kevin - founder of the monastery - who milked it and fed two orphan babies from the hollowed-out stone.

Dressed in a casual outdoor jacket, patterned white jeans and grey Converse trainers, Mrs Obama nodded and smiled, asking the guide questions about the legend. Her daughters paid close attention too, looking around the hills in their jeans and trainers - 14-year-old Malia in a classic navy hoodie, while Sasha wore a baggy grey jumper.

Tour guide Mr McClafferty took a seat on the famous stone as he shared some of the folklore of the site, founded in the sixth century.

"That gives great power," Mrs Obama told him as she triumphantly raised her fists in the air. The Obamas were shown around the monastic ruins in the heart of the glacial valley and walked around the round tower.

Sasha was given the honour of closing the door to the ruins of St Kevin's Church, which dates back 1500 years. The teenager was handed a key and she locked the door, before turning to her older sister and giving her a high five.

Press Association

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