A group of Irish schoolchildren said they were delighted to meet President Donald Trump on his golf course.
Clohanes National School, which has 27 pupils, is based a mile from Mr Trump’s golf club resort in Doonbeg, Co Clare, and when principal Aideen O’Mahoney heard the president was playing the full 18 holes, decided to take the pupils to the 9th green and chance a meeting on Friday morning.
Standing nearby, the pupils caught Mr Trump’s attention by waving American flags, and were invited by the Secret Service to go and meet him.
Lucy Shanahan, 13, said the president was not as tall as she thought he would be but was still very nice.
“He was very nice, he was asking if there was going to be any future presidents there and did we like golf,” she said.
“We talked about golf and school, it was good to meet him, but it’s a bit overwhelming.”
Her sister Abbi, 16, said: “I debated whether to go, even get up early to go to school today, I was going to lie on for another half hour.
“It was mad like, we often joke about meeting him because we live so close, and we went down this morning and he was there, it was mad.
“He was so sound, he just told us to stay in school and asked if there’d be any future Taoiseachs but I don’t know about that – I’m a bit young yet.”
After a few pictures, and an impromptu song from the children, where they sang a few verses of My Lovely Rose Of Clare, they watched the president continue his round of golf, but when asked about the president’s skills, the Doonbeg children were harsh critics.
“I don’t know about his golfing, one of his shots went down into the dunes anyway, down beside the beach,” Abbi added.
“Hopefully the 10th tee went better for him.”
Principal Ms O’Mahoney said the children had been treated to a week of Trump-mania as security services and media swarmed the small village, but never imagined they would get to meet the man himself.
“It was just a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the President of the United States, we were just delighted because we had nothing planned,” she said.
“We took the children to the nearest green and thought we’d chance the meeting – it’s just been amazing.
“At first the Secret Service said that he wanted to meet the teachers and we were gobsmacked at that, and then he said he would come down and meet the children.
“He shook hands with them and spoke to them, he got photographs with them, was very interested in the children and asked them lots of questions.
“He had his White House photographer there and he told her to make sure she got a good photo of us, and said he would send it to us.”
— Trump Doonbeg (@TrumpDoonbeg) June 7, 2019
Although much-praised in the local area, Ms O’Mahoney said the children are aware that the president is a divisive figure.
“Of course they hear what’s going on in the media,” she said.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion on him and the children are entitled to their opinion on him too so it’s up to them.
“They listen and they can make up their own minds.
“We’re just looking at the positives of this, they got to meet the President of the United States and there aren’t too many children in the country can say that today.
“We feel very privileged.”