The government is in talks to arrange an official visit for US President Joe Biden to Ireland in the summer.
Senior officials are discussing the idea of Biden visiting his ancestral home in the second week of June before he heads to the UK for the G7 summit.
The new President has visited Ireland several times in the past and he told Ireland’s Taoiseach Micheál Martin that he would be visiting again soon.
In fact, his exact words were: “Try and stop me!”
Biden is proud of his Irish roots and is able to trace both his maternal and paternal family tree back to Mayo and Louth.
He previously stated that Ireland was ‘written on my soul’.
Talks have already begun behind the scenes at Iveagh House, the home of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
A source told the Irish Mirror: “It is something that would take some level, a huge level, of planning, and I know that my colleagues in Iveagh House have been talking about it this week already, the planning has begun.
“Certainly, the hope is that he will visit here, the G7 would be the time we would look at, and we’re hopeful.
“Put it this way, as he said himself, try and keep me out.”
The G7 summit takes place in Cornwall from 11-13 June, meaning that Biden will likely visit Ireland on June 10th – although he could make the visit on the way back to the US instead.
A source close to the Taoiseach said: “There is an open invitation and they did have a discussion before where the President-elect did say, ‘try and keep me out’.
“So, we’re really hopeful that when Covid allows that he will make Ireland one of his first ports of call.”
On a previous visit to Ireland, Biden met some of his long-lost relatives in Mayo, including some young fifth cousins who described him as a lovely man.
In 2016, he walked through the streets of Ballina, Co Mayo to see where his great-great-great grandfather lived during Ireland’s famine before emigrating to the US.
The day before President Biden’s inauguration, he quoted James Joyce in an emotional speech in Delaware.
He said: “Colleagues in the Senate used to always kid me for quoting Irish poets.
“They thought I did it because I’m Irish. I didn’t do it for that reason.
“I did it because they’re the best poets in the world. James Joyce was said to have told a friend that when it comes his time to pass, when he dies, he said, ‘Dublin will be written on my heart’.
“Well, excuse the emotion, but when I die Delaware will be written on my heart, and the hearts of all of us, all the Bidens. We love you all.”
“Dublin will be written on my heart… when I die Delaware will be written on my heart.”
Joe Biden quotes James Joyce while giving an emotional farewell as he leaves his home state of Delaware for Washington DC, ahead of his inauguration as the 46th US President. pic.twitter.com/6DYbwyhAy5
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) January 19, 2021
Outgoing President Donald Trump also visited Ireland during his time in office and has a golf resort in Doonbeg, Co Clare.
In 2019, he met then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and discussed issues relating to Brexit and the Irish border.
He was joined by his sons Donald Jr and Eric Trump who mixed with locals at Doonbeg and even got behind the bar at a local pub to pour a Guinness.
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Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling