Belfast Telegraph

Barack Obama set to visit Ireland

US President Barack Obama is planning to visit the village of his ancestors when he travels to Ireland in May.

Word of the historic Irish trip spread quickly through Moneygall, Co Offaly, after it was revealed by the president during a meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Oval Office.

Mr Kenny was making his first St Patrick's Day visit to The White House since being appointed to office just over a week ago.

President Obama, sporting a light green tie, said he was very much looking forward to the trip.

He added: "I wanted to say today that I intend to come to Ireland in May and I'm expecting to go not only to all the famous sites, but also to go to Moneygall."

There is no official date for the visit yet but Mr Obama is due to travel to the UK in late May ahead of a G8 summit of world leaders in France.

The Irish Republic is also gearing up for an expected visit from the Queen in May - the first state visit by a British Monarch.

Records have revealed that Mr Obama's great great great great grandfather was a shoemaker in Moneygall and his son, Fulmuth Kearney, left for New York in 1850.

Mr Kenny said he was thrilled by the announcement and told the president he would be rapturously received by the people of Ireland.

"I can testify as the Irish Taoiseach, this is another great day in our country's journey and it's a very significant statement of confidence by the most powerful political office in the world that the President of the United States decides to come to Ireland in May," Mr Kenny said. "We appreciate that very much, indeed, Mr President. And we'll make sure that your visit is warmly received and generously treated."

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