Continued from page 1

An American news photographer covering President Obama’s visit to Ireland last month was worried about a frail-looking, elderly lady huddled inside a Chinook helicopter on a bumpy ride to Moneygall.

“She was so small, and with reddish hair, I assumed she might be a veteran Irish news reporter along for the ride like myself,” the photographer told the Irish Echo newspaper.

The photographer, who asked not to be identified, had boarded the helicopter in Dublin for a short ride to Moneygall, Mr. Obama’s ancestral home on his mother’s side.

He said he had no chance to talk to the woman because of the noise from the helicopter blades and the bumpy ride through gale-force winds. After they landed, he made sure the lady got out of the helicopter safely and then ran to get a good space to photograph the president and first lady Michelle Obamaas they walked through the village.

“I looked over as the presidential entourage approached, and there was the small woman right with President Obama,” the photographer said.

He later learned that he had shared the helicopter ride with Patricia Regan Rooney, wife of U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney.

Mrs. Rooney, who married her husband in 1952 when she was 19, is the mother of nine children and grandmother of 18.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or e-mail The column is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.