President Barack Obama is likely to speak at Dublin’s Croke Park before 80,000 people on Monday evening, May 23rd, according to Washington sources.
The Croke Park stadium is more easily secured than any other major venue in Dublin, say the sources, and seems now to be the most likely venue for a major address by the US president, who is expected to arrive into Dublin on the morning of May 23rd aboard Air Force 1. He will stay until departing for London the following morning.
The only major complication appears to be whether a crowd of 80,000 would turn up to greet Obama, as anything less than a full stadium could be portrayed as a disappointment. The stadium holds 82,300 at maximum capacity.
Coincidentally, Queen Elizabeth will visit Croke Park too, during her historic visit the week before Obama’s.
After arriving in Dublin, Obama is expected to meet with Prime Minister Enda Kenny and his cabinet and may have other events. He will then helicopter to Moneygall in Offaly, where he will visit the town where his ancestor Fulmuth Kearney hailed from.
He may also visit nearby Shinrone, in Tipperary. about ten miles distant, where several of his ancestors are buried. If he does not visit Shinrone, the town leaders from there will have a role in the Moneygall visit.
Security will be very strict and magnetometers similar to airport security will be set up in the town of Moneygall at both ends of the main street and everyone will have to pass through them.
He will then return to Dublin for the expected Croke Park speech and is expected to overnight with the US Ambassador Dan Rooney at his Phoenix park residence.
It is not known what schedule Obama will follow the next day as he is expected in London by 12 noon for the beginning of his state visit, but there is speculation about a business event or a university address.
All in all, the president will not be in Ireland for much more than 24 hours in total, according to the sources.