THE $1.5 BILLION A YEAR FIRST FAMILY: THE $5.2 MILLION PRICE TAG TO TWO-DAY IRELAND TRIP WITH MICHELLE’S 30 ROOMS FOR ENTOURGAE

Thrilled, girls? First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters, Sasha (center) and Malia (right) tour the Old Library Building at Trinity College in Dublin on Monday

The First Lady… of funny faces: Malia Obama plays up for the cameras (again) as she reduces Michelle and Sasha to fits of giggles during G8 visit to Ireland

  • Michelle, and two daughters, Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11 toured tourist attractions in Dublin on Monday
  • First Lady in $3,300-a-night suite at lavish Shelbourne Hotel
  • Michelle’s entourage takes 30 rooms at the 5-star hotel
  • President Obama remains in Northern Ireland at the G8 Summit
  • Two-day trip is expected to cost the U.S. taxpayer an estimated $5.2million
  • Arrived amid biggest security operation ever mounted in Northern Ireland

By Louise Boyle and Jill Reilly

The Obama girls appear to have perked up on their trip to Dublin as they giggled and pulled a series of wacky faces during a performance of Riverdance.

Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11, had looked less than enthralled earlier on Monday as they toured the historic Book of Kells with their mother at Trinity College in the capital.

However the First Lady and her daughters were having a roaring good time as they sat among schoolchildren at Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre. Malia made her mother and sister laugh with one of her comic expressions, pulling crossed eyes as students surreptitiously snapped them with camera phones.

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All laughs: Malia Obama makes her mother and sister laugh ahead of a special performance of Riverdance in DublinAll laughs: Malia Obama makes her mother and sister laugh ahead of a special performance of Riverdance in Dublin
That's more like it! The First Lady and her daughters grin as they take their seats to watch some traditional Irish dancing in Riverdance at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin on MondayThat’s more like it! The First Lady and her daughters grin as they take their seats to watch some traditional Irish dancing in Riverdance at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin on Monday
 
 
Telling off? The First Lady gestures to students who attended a performance of Riverdance along with the First Lady and her daughters on Monday night in Dublin Telling off? The First Lady gestures to students who attended a performance of Riverdance along with the First Lady and her daughters on Monday night in Dublin
 
 
Good to see you! Wife of the Irish Prime Minister Fionnuala Kenny hugs the First Lady. The pair have met on several occasions both in Ireland and in WashingtonGood to see you! Wife of the Irish Prime Minister Fionnuala Kenny hugs the First Lady. The pair have met on several occasions both in Ireland and in Washington
 
 
Candid camera: Malia Obama pulls a funny face for her sister Sasha's camera as her parents kiss during the inauguration earlier this yearCandid camera: Malia Obama pulls a funny face for her sister Sasha’s camera as her parents kiss during the inauguration earlier this year
 
Funny girl: Malia Obama pulls some comic expressions for the camera at the inaugural parade in D.C. in January
Funny girls: Malia Obama pulls some comic expressions along with sister Sasha in front of the cameras at the inaugural parade in D.C. in January
 

Funny girls: Malia Obama pulls some comic expressions along with sister Sasha in front of the cameras at the inaugural parade in D.C. in January

 

 
Michelle and the girls watch Riverdance
 

 

The Secret Service and the Irish gardaí kept a tight presence around the city center theater while the first family were inside.

Mrs Obama and her daughters are staying at the Shelbourne Hotel and according to the Irish Independent, her entourage has booked out 30 rooms in the five-star accommodation.

The Shelbourne Hotel is one of Dublin’s oldest and sits in the center of the city overlooking the public park St Stephen’s Green.

It is understood that Michelle will stay in the luxurious $3,300-a-night Princess Grace suite. Thrilled, girls? First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters, Sasha (center) and Malia (right) tour the Old Library Building at Trinity College in Dublin on Monday

Thrilled, girls? First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters, Sasha (center) and Malia (right) tour the Old Library Building at Trinity College in Dublin on Monday

 
Thrilled, girls? First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters, Sasha (center) and Malia (right) tour the Old Library Building at Trinity College in Dublin on MondayThrilled, girls? First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters, Sasha (center) and Malia (right) tour the Old Library Building at Trinity College in Dublin on Monday
 
Michelle Obama and daughters visit Trinity College in Ireland
 

 
 
Happy holidays! Sasha and Malia Obama look a little bored as they are shown the historic books at Trinity College by Dr Patrick PrendergastHappy holidays! Sasha and Malia Obama look a little bored as they are shown the historic books at Trinity College by Dr Patrick Prendergast
 
 
 
 

Making new friends: Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron visit a primary school in Northern IrelandCute kids. Pres Obama and British PM Cameron with schoolchildren in No. Ireland (yes the kids are still in school)

Just what were the Obama girls so thrilled about? The Medieval Book
of Kells

The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin believed to have been created around 800AD by Celtic monks on the Island of Iona in Scotland.

It is believed that the book may have been brought to Ireland by Vikings who raided Iona.

It is one of the most magnificent pieces that has survived from Medieval times and is relatively intact. 

The Books of Kells was written on vellum or calfskin. Some 680 individual pages have survived more than 1,200 years and all of them except two sheets are beautifully decorated.  As many as ten rare and expensive dyes were used by monks to create it.

A team of staff were out cleaning the front of the building in preparation for the First family’s arrival as the usual swarm of FBI agents hovered around. 

The two-day trip around the Republic is expected to cost the U.S. taxpayer more than $5.2million based on estimates after the First Couple’s 2011 one-day trip cost $2.6million.

The President, his wife and daughters touched down in Belfast amid the biggest security operation ever mounted in Northern Ireland.

Air Force One arrived at Aldergrove International Airport, 20 miles north of the city, where the President emerged from the plane with his family.

While Obama holds talks with other world leaders at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, Michelle and their girls headed to the Republic.

On Monday evening, the First Lady made a short speech before watching a special performance of Riverdance at the Gaiety Theatre, a short distance from her city center hotel. 

That's entertainment! Michelle Obama speaks ahead of a performance of Riverdance at the Gaiety Theatre, DublinThat’s entertainment! Michelle Obama speaks ahead of a performance of Riverdance at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin. From left are Moya Doherty, co-founder of Riverdance, Fionnuala Kenny, wife of Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Sabina Higgins, wife of the President of Ireland Michael Higgins
 
Under watchful eyes: The gardaí keep a heavy presence outside Dublin's Gaiety Theatre while the First Lady and her two daughters are insideUnder watchful eyes: The gardaí keep a heavy presence outside Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre while the First Lady and her two daughters are insideDon't get too excited girls! The Obama daughters study the 'College Harp' - Ireland's oldest harp dating back from the 15th century and on which Ireland's national emblem is based onDon’t get too excited girls! The Obama daughters study the ‘College Harp’ – Ireland’s oldest harp dating back from the 15th century and on which Ireland’s national emblem is based on
 
 
Come on, Mom! Michelle looks excited as the family delve into the Obama's Irish heritage... unlike her daughtersCome on, Mom! Michelle looks excited as the family delve into the Obama’s Irish heritage… unlike her daughters
 
Under watchful eyes: The Obama girls are followed by their heavy security details as they visit Trinity College in Dublin todayUnder watchful eyes: The Obama girls are followed by their heavy security details as they visit Trinity College in Dublin today
 
 
Well that's over! Sasha Obama looks delighted to be heading back to the hotel in Dublin
Well that's over! Sasha Obama looks delighted to be heading back to the hotel in Dublin
 

Well that’s over! Malia and Sasha Obama looked delighted to be heading back to their hotel in Dublin

Glamor: Michelle Obama and her daughters are believed to be staying in a $3,500-a-night suite at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin's city centerGlamor: Michelle Obama and her daughters are believed to be staying in a $3,500-a-night suite at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin’s city center

The family is also expected to meet the staff and families of the U.S. Embassy during their Dublin visit.

While at Trinity College earlier on Monday, Mrs Obama and her daughters also pored over archives documenting the family’s Irish ancestry.  The President’s great-great-great grandfather was a shoemaker in Moneygall, Co. Offaly.

 
On Tuesday, Mrs Obama and her daughters will head to Glendalough in the Wicklow Mountains National Park, 20,000 hectares of upland mountain scenery.

In the evening they are scheduled to rejoin the President and fly to Berlin.

 
Touch down: US President Barack Obama arrived in Belfast along with his two daughters and wife Michelle who looked stylish in a Burberry coatTouch down: US President Barack Obama arrived in Belfast along with his two daughters and wife Michelle who looked stylish in a Burberry coat
 
 
Family trip:Holding hands: Barack Obama disembarks from Air Force One with his daughter Sasha, 11
 
High profile:High profile: Roads into and out of Belfast were closed to facilitate the president’s visit
 
A family affair: The Obama’s arrive in Northern Ireland
 

 
 
Greetings:Greetings: The President was met by Lord Leiutenant Joan Christie, Minister of State for Northern Ireland Mike Penning, Arlene Foster MLA and Michelle O’Neill MLA
 
 
Wet welcome: Sasha laughs as Malia looks down at her feet after arriving in the drizzly weatherWet welcome: Malia laughs as Sasha looks down at her feet after arriving in the drizzly weather

Long trip:Long trip: Obama put his arm around daughter Malia, while First Lady Michelle Obama walked with their elder daughter Sasha

FROM IRISH COUNTRYSIDE TO THE WHITE HOUSE: OBAMA’S ROOTS IN MONEYGALL

Barack Obama’s great-great-great grandfather was a shoemaker in Moneygall and his son, Falmouth Kearney, left for New York in 1850.

Mr Kearney arrived in New York with his brother-in-law William and wife, Margaret Cleary, and they were destined for Ohio.

He had 10 children and later settled in Indiana as a farmer.

Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, was a descendant of one of Mr Kearney’s daughters, Mary Ann Kearney, and Jacob William Dunham.

In Moneygall, although generations have passed, blood ties with the president still remain.

U.S. and Irish genealogists have detected several other distant Irish cousins of Obama living in Ireland and England, including Dick Benn and Ton Donovan, whose families live just across the border in County Tipperary and have farmed the same land for 250 years.

Obama was flown to Belfast City Airport by helicopter and then traveled to the Waterfront Hall conference center where he spoke to an invited audience of 2,000 mostly young people and urged political leaders to develop the peace process.

On arrival at the Waterfront, the family were greeted by Northern Ireland’s First and Deputy First Ministers Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness.

Roads into and out of Belfast were closed to facilitate the president’s visit.

Hundreds of police 4x4s lined the streets, while the Police Service of Northern Ireland helicopter patrolled the skies over the city.

Thousands of extra police officers were deployed to the province ahead of the G8 summit.

The one day trip that the Obama’s took to Ireland in 2011 was estimated to cost the White House $2.6million.

This two-day trip is likely to cost double that amount taking into account that his daughters now need a security detail and the family have split up into two locations.

Trips on Air Force One cost the government about $180,000 per flight hour.

According to a book published last year Obama and his family cost the taxpayer $1.4billion per year.

His recent appearances in Israel cost taxpayers an estimated $10.9 million.

The last time that Obama visited Ireland in 2011, he headed to the tiny village of Moneygall, Co. Offaly.

His great-great-great grandfather on his Kansas-born mother’s side, Falmouth Kearney, lived in the town until leaving for America in 1850 at the height of the Great Famine.

 
Tight schedule: Tight schedule: The family were flown to Belfast City Airport by helicopter and then travelled to the Waterfront Hall conference centre
 
 
Supportive: Obama hugs his wife Michelle Obama, before delivering a keynote address Supportive: Obama hugs his wife before delivering a keynote address

TestsTests: Obama declared peace in Northern Ireland a ‘blueprint’ for those living amid conflict around the world, while acknowledging that the calm between Catholics and Protestants will face further tests

 
First Lady Michelle Obama waves to the audience
Michell Obama, the wife of the US President Barack Obama, applauds the crowd before she delivers a keynote address
 

Power dressing: Michelle wore a cream and brown outfit accessorized  with a statement necklace

 
Speech: Speech: Michelle Obama delivers a keynote address at Waterfront Hall in Belfast, ahead of the G8 Summit
 
Moving on:Moving on: While Barack Obama holds talks with other world leaders at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, Mrs Obama and their children are due to visit the Republic

Along with First Lady Michelle, the President even got to hug a distant relative, Henry Healy, a 26-year-old accountant for a plumbing firm who discovered four years ago he was one of Obama’s closest Irish relatives.

This time around, Obama has traveled to the luxury Lough Erne golf resort in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, where the leaders of the world’s eight wealthiest countries will converge for the two-day G8 economic conference.

While Obama is widely admired in Ireland, he doesn’t have anything close to the fan base built by Bill Clinton, who made Northern Ireland peacemaking a top priority and visited both parts of Ireland three times from 1995 to 2000.

George Bush also visited Northern Ireland in 2008.

 

U.S. and Irish genealogists have detected several other distant Irish cousins of Obama living in Ireland and England, including Dick Benn and Ton Donovan, whose families live just across the border in County Tipperary and have farmed the same land for 250 years.

Hearty swig: Barack Obama said the Guinness served in Ollie Hayes pub in Moneygall - the ancestral homeland of his great-great-great grandfather - was deliciousSlainte: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama sip Guinness at a pub in Moneygall, Co. Offaly in 2011
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5 thoughts on “THE $1.5 BILLION A YEAR FIRST FAMILY: THE $5.2 MILLION PRICE TAG TO TWO-DAY IRELAND TRIP WITH MICHELLE’S 30 ROOMS FOR ENTOURGAE

    • High-maintenance First Family needs taxpayers money to keep up with their fancy globe-trotting taste… while 49 million Americans are still on food stamp.

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