President Michael D Higgins drops a fiver in the guitar case of buskers Ruarí Hanlon and Conor Elmes after he had officially opened the Fleadh Cheoil in Drogheda yesterday. Photo: Andy Spearman
First aiders posing fr a selfie with the President.
One of the many people who shook the President's hand.
Lolo Robinson of the Fleadh Committee receives a presentation from the President.
And there was one for Joan Martin of Louth County Council as well.
Chatting with the President in Fair Street.
Another handshake for Miggeldy.
And one for Sabina.
Kelly Kierans meets Mr. and Mrs. Miggeldy.
The little girl's look says it all.
The Presidential toes were tapping but he wasn't for dancing.
President Michael D Higgins, or Miggeldy as his large army of (mostly female) fans call him, is a formidable speaker and not one to hold back. His speech yesterday must have clocked in at over half an hour but nobody was complaining.
Like the experienced trooper that he is, Miggeldy can hold a room but he seemed less comfortable when the time came for the “official” photos after the event as men and women of great importance pushed forward to have their photo taken with him.
Finally the front doors of the Council offices were opened causing a rush of hot air out on to Fair Street and, like an excited child getting out of school, the President set out to meet and greet the people who had come to see him.
Immediately he relaxed into the job at which he excels – chatting with ordinary people, shaking hands and, an art that is often forgotten about, listening to their stories.
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Every crowd is made up of individuals with their own stories to tell and yesterday was no different. The President had a big hug for Emily Kir from Termonfeckin who became a big Michael D fan whilst she was in hospital fighting Non Hodgkins T Cell Lymphoma.
Emily was sick for four years and inherited her love of Miggeldy from her Nan Joan who sadly died while Emily was in hospital. “My Nan thought he was just so sweet and cuddly” Emily said. “And so do I!” she giggled.
Emily, who missed last year’s Fleadh because she was in hospital, is delighted to be enjoying the Fleadh this year and to get to meet the President was the icing on the cake. The meeting was made possible by Garda Superintendent Andrew Watters who was introduced to her by a Garda colleague Pauline Martin who is Emily’s Aunt.
Another very happy woman yesterday was Clare Kavanagh from Drogheda who returned from Melbourne recently with her Australian fiancé Curtis Garcia. The pair are getting married in Castlebellingham next week and both were delighted to meet the President who of course wished the happy couple well.
Miggeldy was in flying form as he made his way through the streets of Drogheda stopping every few yards for a chat or a photo or both. He enjoyed several impromptu musical performances and wasn’t shy about putting his hand in his pocket although it was noticed that after dropping a fiver in to the guitar case of local buskers Ruairí Hanlon and Conor Elmes, subsequent beneficiaries of the Presidential largesse received only coins.