Irish Artist Michael Hanrahan gifts paintings to President and Mrs. Obama and the US-Ireland Alliance
14 February 2012. Today, Irish artist Michael Hanrahan presented the US Ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney, with a painting for President and Mrs. Obama. The painting marks their May 2011 visit to Ireland and is of the President speaking at College Green in Dublin. The artist is gifting his only other painting of the Obama visit to the US-Ireland Alliance. That painting is of the President Mrs. Obama at the President’s ancestral home in Moneygall, County Offaly.
Trina Vargo, President of the US-Ireland Alliance, said that the Alliance is honored by Mr. Hanrahan’s gift: “It’s very generous of Michael to allow this painting to benefit our non-profit organization. We hope that the interest in his work will result in a good price, the proceeds of which will go to the endowment for the Mitchell Scholarship program. As this will be one of only two paintings of the Obama visit, we hope that will further increase the interest in the painting of the historic occasion.”
Mr. Hanrahan, who resides in Lahinch, County Clare, received a great deal of attention for his paintings of Queen Elizabeth’s May visit to Ireland. He visited London in August to personally deliver to Buckingham Palace his painting, which commemorated a wreath-laying ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin. The painting now forms part of the British Royal Collection. In October, Mr. Hanrahan visited Irish President Mary McAleese to present her with a painting of her greeting Queen Elizabeth. That painting now hangs in Aras an Uachtarain, the Irish equivalent of the White House.
“I feel very fortunate and am humbled by the recent attention to my work, and am delighted that one of my paintings will contribute to a scholarship named in honor of Senator Mitchell’s great contribution to the island of Ireland,” said Michael Hanrahan. “Like everyone in Ireland, I welcomed the visit of President and Mrs. Obama to Ireland.”
Ms. Vargo advised the 2008 Obama presidential campaign on Irish issues. She visited Moneygall in May 2007 after the candidate’s Irish ancestry was revealed. At the time, Senator Obama was one of several Democratic candidates in the race. “When I stopped in Moneygall in 2007, looking for the church where then-Senator Obama’s ancestors were baptized, the locals didn’t know who Obama was,” said Ms. Vargo. “Obviously they do now, and we’re delighted to be given a painting commemorating his visit there.”