Dublin: -3 °C Friday 1 December, 2023

LIVE: (Not) Cardinal Brady’s liveblog from Obama’s concert’s resident columnist and spiritual leader gives us his blow-by-blow account of goings-on at College Green in honour of visiting US President Barack Obama.‘s regular columnist (Not) Cardinal Brady is a crafty cleric – he has managed to score backstage passes for the College Green gig in honour of President Barack Obama this evening.

Luckily for the rest of us squashed up back by the taxi rank on Dame Street, he has agreed to liveblog EXCLUSIVELY for us today from (maybe) backstage…

Backstage in College Green. Have travelled down with Fr Lawlor and his 80-year-old mother.

Fr Lawlor’s mother insisted on a stopping off at the Omni in Santry to pick up a bag of Cola bottles, and try out her new motorised wheelchair.

Have had to listen to her and Fr Lawlor singing along to Westlife’s greatest hits since we left.

Fr Lawlor has also been practicing his “Show us your birth cert” joke all the way down. Nevertheless, my humour is buoyant.

Fr Lawlor going around grinning, looking at everyone and saying “Can we fix it? Yes we can!” *facepalm*

In a corner we spot Mr Obama practicing with the hurley End Kenny gave him. Imelda May is cheering him on. According to a steward Mr Obama likes to immerse himself as much as possible in the culture of the country he is visiting. Both he and Mrs Obama have been getting tips from Imelda May.

Mr Obama is very charismatic. Enda Kenny appears beside him. Suddenly Mr Obama is even more charismatic.

Enda Kenny introduces me to Mr Obama. I am very excited. Mr Obama fixes with a broad smile and says “’Story, bud?” (Imelda May’s tips seem to be working)

I tell Mr Obama I am the Primate of All-Ireland.

“Get oudda dat garden!” he exclaims as he lays a friendly punch on my shoulder.

I do not know how to respond, so I chuckle politely. He takes his leave “Later, bud.”

Great excitement here now. Distracting me from the pain in my shoulder.

Enda Kenny now channelling the late Macho Man Randy Savage. A lovely tribute of sorts, although my ears are hurting a little.

Hope this doesn’t go on too long. I haven’t eaten a thing since that slice of Ryvita at breakfast. Ravenous. Wondering if Iskanders will still be open when we get out.

Very noisy here, but I’m sure I heard Fr Lawlor mutter, “Isn’t he dreamy?”

Backstage, Fr Lawlor’s mother is eyeing Ryan Tubridy. “He needs fattening up,” she says.

“Give him a cola bottle so,” says Fr Lawlor. A look of murder from her.

For those of you watching at home, yes, that is Gene Hackman making a guest appearance behind Mr Obama.

Meanwhile, backstage, Fr Lawlor’s mother has wangled an introduction with Westlife. Am very nervous because I am not sure which one is Mikey Graham.

Westlife seem very nice, but I find we have to talk reeeaaally slowly to the blonde one.

This speech is so good I would nearly move to America myself. Voluntarily. Because it sounds great. Not for any other reason. Of my own free will.

Have just bumped into Stephen Rea. Have finally gotten to use my brilliant “Why the long face?” joke. Oho!

Speaking of hungry mouths, am still starving. Mrs Lawlor has given a cola bottle to Brendan Gleeson. Am raging.

Michelle Obama will be delighted. Before they went on stage she told me “I hope he keeps it short. Jazus, I could eat a baby’s arse through the bars of a cot.” (Thank you Imelda May)

Celebratory mood here. Fr Lawlor’s mother now doing wheelies.

Security is very tight here. Louis Walsh is being frisked for the fifth time. Apparently at his own insistence.

Fr Lawlor reading the list of objects forbidden backstage. “No sharp objects… That’s your intellect okay so.” He laughs and punches me on the arm.

He is SO getting transferred to Longford.

Secret Service men are perturbed by a strange honking sound as if an alarm has gone off somewhere.

Crisis averted. Strange honking sound is actually Padraig Harrington giving Brian O’ Driscoll advice on his golf swing.

I take the opportunity to congratulate Brian O’ Driscoll on Leinster’s Heineken Cup win. Then I apologise for Fr Lawlor asking Amy Huberman to autograph his Clinic DVD box set at the Royal Wedding.

President Obama there taking time out to ring Newt Gingrich: “Beat that, motherflipper.”

A marvellous day, and an even more marvellous speech only slightly marred by the fact that Mr Obama made no mention of Ryan Giggs.

Wonderful atmosphere backstage. Louis Walsh still being frisked. President Obama practicing his puck out. Father Lawlor’s mother telling Michelle Obama how great the Omni is.

Iskanders here we come.

(Not) Cardinal Sean Brady