Blaze damages 21st US president's ancestral home

28th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

The ancestral home of the 21st US president, Chester Alan Arthur, now a tourist attraction, has been badly damaged in a fire, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said Saturday.

The blaze hit Arthur Cottage in the village of Cullybackey, northwest of Belfast in County Antrim. The thatched roof and many of its contents were destroyed.

The house is the ancestral home of Arthur, president of the United States between 1881 and 1885.

The Republican president's paternal family lived in the white, one-storey cottage. His father emigrated to North America as a young man.

The PSNI is investigating what caused the fire.

The blaze comes after Barack Obama, the 44th US president, visited his ancestral home in Moneygall, County Offaly, on Monday.

Obama's great-great-great-grandfather Falmouth Kearney emigrated from the rural village in the Irish midlands in 1850, seeking a fresh start in the United States.

Obama was given a hero's homecoming welcome as he visited the house where the Kearneys lived, met distant cousins and had a pint of Guinness in the village pub.

© 2011 AFP

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