Pope Benedict XVI may visit Ireland before too long, according to a leading Irish clergyman speaking in New York.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said he interpreted the choice of Dr. Sean Brady as cardinal as an indication the pope wants to visit.
Archbishop Martin said a papal visit, particularly to Ulster, would symbolically end an era in the island's history and open up a new future, north and south.
Dr Brady, the Archbishop of Armagh, was one of 24 cardinals named on Wednesday.
The Dublin Archbishop said he saw the appointment as a sign of the Pope's interest in visiting Ireland.
That, he said, combined with a visit by Queen Elizabeth would mark a new era in Ireland.
Last year, the Irish bishops invited Pope Benedict to Ireland. It would be the first papal visit here since Pope John Paul II came in 1979 but he never visited the Northern Ireland.