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“It was so surreal”- Doonbeg youngsters on meeting Trump

“HE was so sound like, he was telling us to stay in school, had we any interest in golf, were there any future Taoiseachs around.”

This was one of 16 year old Abbi Shanahan’s memories of meeting President Donald Trump on Friday, as he took a moment from his round of golf at Doonbeg to meet with children from Clohane National School and various members of the Shanahan clan, who were nearby.

Rory Shanahan, Mary Rita Kelly, teacher, Teresa Clancy, SNA, Lucy Shanahan, Aideen O Mahoney, Principal, Michelle Crowley and Abbi Shanahan of Clohanes NS who all got to meet President of the United States Of America Donald J. Trump when he took time out at the ninth hole while playing his links course at Doonbeg. Photograph by John Kelly.

Abbi’s grandfather, Kevin Shanahan, has land next to the ninth hole, and members of the family went there on Friday as the President was negotiating the course. Her aunt Aideen O’Mahony is Principal of Clohanes National School, and she brought all the children and the school’s staff up there for the occasion.

They never expected they would actually get to meet President Trump, but it came about unexpectedly, as Abbi’s 13 year old sister Lucy described. “A secret service person said you can move up a bit, then another one came and said we could go up another bit. Then another one said the President wanted to meet us all so he came down to us.”

She said Mr Trump had been “very nice” and he had engaged them in conversation. “He was asking was there any future presidents there and did we like golf and all that.”

Now enjoying the early days of her summer holidays, Abbi admitted that she had considered having a lie in rather than going to try and catch sight of the President. “I debated whether or not to get out of bed this morning, would I lie in for another half an hour! But we got up and went down. It was mad. We live so close, we went down this morning and it was so surreal.”

The national school children, including Abbi and Lucy’s brother Rory, sang My Lovely Rose of Clare for President Trump.


Owen Ryan

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.