Cycle Route Marking: Red Length: 39km
This 39km route honours US President Barack Obama’s momentous 2011 visit in search of his Irish roots. It follows in the footsteps taken by his Kearney family ancestors where they lived between Shinrone and Moneygall.
They emigrated in 1849, soon after the famine. Moneygall: Start from the ancestral Kearney family house on the main street and leave the village westwards on the old main road. Soon you pass the M7 motorway, pedalling on into the rolling countryside. Pass Templeharry Church which has Obama connections and later Kilcomin Monastic site.
A detour is made into Shinrone village where at the bottom of the hill, the foodstore is the site of a Kearney family home, and directly across the road in the cemetery there is a plaque commemorating the Obama visit to the family graves. Return to Keeny’s Crossroads and follow the signs for a pleasant spin through the unspoilt farming heartland of Offaly.
Along the way you will find historic castles, cottages, fine period houses, old churches and ancient cemeteries. At a river on the way to the scenic village of Dunkerrin lies Wood’s Hall, worked by the Kearney family when they moved to Shinrone.
This water powered mill was once an important trading hub, bringing together farmers and businessmen. Although now disused you can still see the old millrace stream passing through the building. Continue through level bog lands with occasional hills as you near Castletown and the final few kilometres into Moneygall.