ENNISKILLEN, Northern Ireland (AP) — Well, that was close. Or was it? Shortly after wrapping up one of the most peaceful Group of Eight summits in recent memory, Prime Minister David Cameron let a cat out of the bag.
"Now #G8UK is over I can reveal a bomb was found in Lough Erne," he posted on Twitter. "It was American from WW2. Apparently they had a practice mortar range here!"
Not to worry, however. Northern Ireland police mounted a massive security operation to protect the Loch Erne resort west of Enniskillen involving thousands of officers, restricted airspace and contingencies for protesters. While the security appeared aimed at more modern threats, it clearly paid off.
Police in Northern Ireland confirmed that "during ongoing checks" ahead of the G-8, a suspicious item was discovered on June 12, which later was confirmed to be military ordnance from WWII.
While Dad was off deep in talks of pressing world affairs, presidential daughters Malia and Sasha Obama joined their mom for lunch with Irish rock star Bono.
Hundreds of onlookers had gathered by the time Bono and wife Ali Hewson arrived at the U2 frontman's favored local pub, Finnegan's, in the exclusive Dublin suburb of Dalkey. "I thought this was supposed to be secret," the singer said to the crowd. The spectators may have been tipped off by the U.S. flag flying outside and the restaurant closed to the public amid tight security.
The Obamas dined on fish and chips, natch, with cookies and tea for dessert. "We talked about everything and nothing," said Bono, who is well known to world leaders as an anti-poverty campaigner. "It was a family lunch."
Earlier Tuesday, the Obama ladies had a private guided tour of the Wicklow Mountains National Park south of Dublin. The sun was shining, but the heat brought swarms of unwelcome visitors — swarming flies called "midges" that forced 12-year-old Sasha to flail her arms as she toured monastic ruins.
But the flies didn't dampen her spirit. Sasha closed the door to the ruins of a 1,500-year-old church, then turned to 14-year-old Malia and the first lady for a high-five.
Cameron has been pushing three T's throughout the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland — tax, trade and transparency.
He might've tacked on one more as he closed out the gathering of world leaders, making a hard sell for tourism to rejuvenate Northern Ireland's economy.
Cameron acknowledged that many people had a negative impression of Northern Ireland after the country's divisions and struggles. He said that he'd had many goals for the summit — and improving the image of Northern Ireland was one of them through a bit of free advertising.
You couldn't put a value on the "infomercial" that was the G-8 summit, he told reporters. He boasted that all his fellow G-8 leaders were impressed by their meeting site.
"It's only when you come and see it for yourself that you just see what a magnificent part of the United Kingdom this is," he said.
Cameron isn't the only one hoping that the free advertising pays off. The Loch Erne resort where he spoke went bankrupt in 2011.
While Russian President Vladimir Putin might be more prone to pose for sporting pictures, it appears Cameron might have one-upped him — if anyone can find the evidence.
Cameron told reporters he'd gone for a dip in Loch Erne, saying a swim in the chilly waters was a good way to prepare for a day of tough negotiations.
"It certainly wakes you up in the morning and gets you going for a hard day of chairing these meetings," he told a press conference.
The prime minister's spokesman described the experience as "brisk" in earlier remarks to reporters. Temperatures around Loch Erne were in the low 60s — but felt much chillier.
- Northern Ireland