Mount Temple native's joy at painting presented to Obama

"It's a thrill to think of my painting hanging in the White House," Mount Temple native and artist Nuala Holloway enthused this week, in the wake of her work depicting a famine ship being selected as one of the gifts to be given to President Barrack Obama during his whistle-stop visit to Ireland. The oil painting by the former Miss Ireland and actress entitled 'Famine ship - Jeanie Johnston' was chosen from large numbers of gift submissions to the US Embassy in Dublin, to be presented to the American President and his wife during their stay in the capital this week. "I just got a call on Friday that they wanted the painting," a delighted Nuala Holloway, who originally hails from Williamstown, Mount Temple, told the Westmeath Independent. "They came back and said they loved it," she enthused, adding that it was very apt considering the journey Mr Obama's great-great-great grandfather Falmouth Kearney made from Ireland in a famine ship just like the Jeanie Johnston to the States in the 19th century. "It's hard to believe that it is on its way to the White House... It's very exciting and it can only help my career as an artist," she observed. "I've admired the man for a long time." The Dublin-based teacher's interest was piqued into creating the painting when she discovered that Falmouth Kearney married a Charlotte Holloway shortly after his arrival in America, and she is currently researching to see if she could actually be related to the US President! The Holloways come originally from England and journeyed to America with some of the family settling in Ireland as they moved West. Nuala's own family name goes back to the late 1700s, she believes, and her great-great-great grandfather, Robert Holloway died in 1832 according to a headstone in Clonmacnois, Co Offaly. "There is a beauty and poignancy in the painting and they will enjoy it," Ms Holloway added, that she has received a lot of positive feedback in relation to the painting and has featured in the USA Today newspaper since the news broke. "It's possible I might get to meet him in the White House in the future, that's my next aim," Nuala concluded hopefully, but for now she is currently preparing for her next exhibition from December 2 to 9 next in the Sol Art Gallery, Dawson Street, Dublin.