US first lady Michelle Obama and her daughters have enjoyed a private guided tour of the Wicklow Mountains National Park as their whistlestop tour of Ireland draws to a close.
The sun beamed down on the hills above the twin lakes at Glendalough as Ms Obama and Malia and Sasha walked through the famous monastic site.
Michelle Obama and daughters at the Deerstone in Glendalough pic.twitter.com/V1ND4hDsFz— Niamh Kat Kinsella (@Niamhk) June 18, 2013
The girls were given a lesson on the ancient ruins by local tour guide George McClafferty.
The valley, in the heart of the Wicklow mountains, offers some of the most popular rural landscapes in Ireland and is a well-worn tourist path for visitors to the east coast.
The president's youngest daughter, 12-year-old Sasha, batted swarming midges away from her face as the trio learned about the legendary Deer Stone.
Mr McClafferty told the Obamas the tale of a wild doe appearing before St Kevin - founder of the monastery – who milked it and fed two orphan babies from the hollowed-out stone.
Dressed in a casual outdoor jacket, patterned white jeans and grey Converse trainers, Mrs Obama nodded and smiled, asking the guide questions about the legend.
Her daughters paid close attention too, looking around the hills in their jeans and trainers – 14-year-old Malia in a classic navy hoodie, while Sasha wore a baggy grey jumper.
Sasha was given the honour of closing the door to the ruins of St Kevin's Church, which dates back 1500 years.
The teenager was handed a key and she locked the door, before turning to her older sister and
giving her a high five.
The Obamas later left for Dalkey where they were having lunch at Finnegan’s, Bono’s local pub.
Finnegans team waiting for Muchelke pic.twitter.com/57OvXZy73K— Mary Mitchell O'Connor (@mitchelloconnor) June 18, 2013
[comment](We are presuming Deputy Mitchell O'Connor meant Michelle, not Muchelke)[/comment]
Crowds are gathering at Finnegan's in Dalkey.US First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters are due here for lunch. pic.twitter.com/irOH9pPEmC— Sinéad Hussey (@SineadHus) June 18, 2013
[comment]One local Dalkey business - never known for being publicity-shy - even had a new shop front done for the occasion.[/comment]
Mrs Obama and her daughters finished their trip to Ireland with the pub lunch at Finnegans, famed for hosting other A-listers like Penelope Cruz, Mel Gibson and Brad Pitt.
The family were joined by the rock star come poverty campaigner Bono and about 60 invited guests at the family-owned pub, where they ate fish and chips.
Cottage pies, smoked bacon and cabbage and chicken with mozarella were also said to have been on the menu.
Finnegan’s had been closed to the public all morning with the Stars and Stripes draped from a flag pole over the front door a tell tale sign the rumours were correct.
Bono had arrived with wife Ali Hewson at about 1pm and remarked: “I thought this was supposed to be secret.”
The Obamas made a speedy exit from the building, straight into a waiting jeep, part of the First Family’s 12-strong motorcade making its way to Dublin Airport, from where they were to head north to meet President Barack Obama and travel on to Germany for the latest leg of his European meetings.
Bono stayed inside to chat to customers and fans after the lunch.
“We talked about everything and nothing,” he said of his meeting with the First Lady and her daughters.
“It was a family lunch.”