O'Bama's Irish Roots?

generic Barack Obama shamrocks irish st patricks
CBS/iStockphoto
It's more than just a fable floating on the Irish mist — but it's less than a proven fact.

The belief that's gripped the faithful in Moneygall is that they've uncovered the newest link in an old tradition: an Irish tie to American politics. And that this is the ancestral home of a presidential hopeful they hardly know — named Barack Obama, reports CBS News correspondent Richard Roth.

"I've been calling him Abracadabra because I didn't know how to pronounce his name, or who he was," one churchgoer said.

From antique ledgers found in a parishioner's basement, Rector Stephen Neill thinks he's traced Obama's Irish roots to a great, great, great, great grandfather named Joseph Kearney, a shoemaker whose shop once stood on a field now conveniently vacant.

"We've got records going back to 1799," Neill says. "It may well be that this may become a major tourist attraction depending on the results of the presidential election next year. So watch this space."

The Irish like to say: "We live in our past." It's a sense of pride in roots that go deep. Moneygall's now got something else to consider — wondering if in its history, there may be a new opportunity.

Farmer John Healy certainly began thinking that. He's already figured out that if Obama's related to the Kearney's, then he's part of the candidate's family too — a few times removed.

"I don't know how many greats would be in it, but ... a good few greats in it because it goes back to 1760," Healy says.

The point is, it could be history in the making here.

So Moneygall now claims a personal stake in America's presidential politics.

"We always like to have Irish roots in the White House," a woman in a pub told Roth.

And if the connection appears unlikely, Neill says — there's a lesson in that.

Well, he doesn't look Irish.

"It's not the first thing you think is it, when you see him, and that's another thing that's taken people aback, makes you realize how related we all are," Neill says.

In fact, Obama's name would fit in well in Ireland, along with all of the O'Donnell's and O'Haras.