Saturday 17 August 2019

Boherbue rolls out the red carpet for visit of 'favourite son'

Newly appointed US ambassador visits his ancestral home

Newly appointed US Ambassador to Ireland, Edward F Crawford, presenting his credentials to President Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin
Newly appointed US Ambassador to Ireland, Edward F Crawford, presenting his credentials to President Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin

Bill Browne & Sheila Fitzgerald

The village of Boherbue will roll out the red carpet on Friday (19th) for the visit of its "favourite son", the newly appointed US ambassador to Ireland Edward J Crawford.

Ambassador Crawford will make a stop in Boherbue during a trip to the Rebel county after accepting an invitation from the local community to visit his ancestral home. 

It emerged last year after he was nominated for the position by President Trump that the octogenarian billionaire businessman from Ohio had familial links to the north Cork village. 

The local link was unearthed by amateur genealogist Gerard Murphy from Newmarket, who discovered that Ambassador Crawford mother Kate (Kay) Crawford, who had emigrated to the US in 1927 hailed from Gneeves in Boherbue. 

Gerard also found out that Ambassador Crawford's grandfather, Jeremiah Healy, the son of John Healy and Ellen Donohue was born in Glashakinleen. 

Many locals in Boherbue will also remember Ambassador Crawford's aunt, the late Cecilia Healy from Gneeves, who passed away in 1996. 

Dr Mary Leader told The Corkman that Ambassador Crawford is due arrive to the parish hall in Boherbue at around 11.30am on Friday, where he will be greeted by the local community and presented with a memento of his visit. 

"After making a speech he will be questioned about his ancestry, the memories of the village passed down to him by his mother, about the priorities for his ambassadorship and about his success in business," said Dr Leader. 

During the visit, which is expected to last approximately an hour, Ambassador Crawford will meet relatives and pay a visit to his ancestral Gneeves homestead. 

Dr Leader said that when Ambassador Crawford was first nominated to the position the community in Boherbue, aware of his links to the village, send him a letter of congratulation. 

"After formally handing his credentials to President Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin earlier this month, the community again send a letter of congratulations saying he would be most welcome in Boherbue should he want to visit," said Dr Leader. 

She said that local man Frank Sheahan, whose son Frankie is a former Munster rugby player and Irish international is a friend of Ambassador Crawford son, was aware of the Boherbue connection and helped pave the way for the visit by further fostering that link. 

Dr Leader said the entire community was excited ahead of the visit, even if its timing was somewhat unexpected.

"We always knew that Ambassador Crawford would visit the village at some point. But, we had not planned on it being so soon after his appointment so the news he is coming has galvanised us to prepare for it," she said. 

"There is a great air of excitement ahead the visit of Boherbue's favourite son and people are very proud of him. He really and truly is a son of the village," said Dr Leader.

It is understood that during his visit to Cork Ambassador Crawford will also attend '50 Years: To the Moon and Back' a live RTÉ broadcast from the Blackrock Observatory on Saturday evening marking the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. 

Ambassador Crawford is also due to meet Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin at some point during his visit to Cork.