President Biden's first official overseas trip will be to the United Kingdom and Belgium in June, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed in a statement on Friday.
While Ireland is not officially on the travel itinerary for the proudly Irish American president, Psaki did note that "potential additional elements" could be added to the presidential travel plans.
In the statement, Psaki confirmed that President Biden will attend the G7 Summit in Cornwall in the UK from June 11 - 13 and then the NATO Summit and the US-EU Summit in Brussels in Belgium on June 14.
Psaki’s statement closes with: “We look forward to having further details to share about this trip soon, including potential additional elements.”
The mention of “potential additional elements” is fueling some speculation that Biden may work in a visit to his ancestral homeland of Ireland.
Upon his election in November and inauguration in January, many wondered if Biden's first overseas visit as President would be to Ireland, considering he regularly touts his Irish roots, which can be traced back to Co Louth and Co Mayo.
Former British Ambassador to the United States Sir Peter Westmacott speculated in November: "Joe Biden is very proud of his Irish links so it is possible that he would go there first." (Westmacott, however, noted that Biden's first official visit would likely be to the UK.)
While still on the campaign trail in 2020, Biden reportedly told his Irish cousin Laurita Blewitt: “My priority as President will be to come to Ireland."
Whenever he decides to make a presidential visit to Ireland, Biden will no doubt have a warm reception, especially in towns in Co Mayo and Co Louth which were decked out in pro-Biden decorations amidst the 2020 US presidential election and inauguration.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has already extended an invite for the President to visit, which, not surprisingly, Biden was very receptive to.
“When I invited President Biden to Ireland, he just said, 'try and keep me out.' So it won’t be any lack of enthusiasm on his side," Martin remarked in January, ahead of Biden's inauguration.
Biden last visited Ireland in an official capacity in 2016 when he was Vice President under President Obama. His trip featured stops in Dublin, Mayo, and Louth.
The day before his 2016 Irish visit, then Vice President Biden wrote: "James Joyce wrote, 'When I die, Dublin will be written on my heart.'
"Well, Northeast Pennsylvania will be written on my heart. But Ireland will be written on my soul. And as we join the world in celebrating everything that Ireland has become, and indeed everything that she has always been, I could not be more honored to be returning."
Later, in September 2017, Biden was on hand in Co Mayo to preside over the official sod-turning ceremony of a new €10 million 14-bed Mayo/Roscommon Hospice unit where his cousin Blewitt is employed. She had previously told the Mayo News that Biden pledged his support when she was in Washington, DC for his Medal of Freedom ceremony.
Former US vice-president Joe Biden arriving for the sod-turning ceremony of the new Mayo Roscommon Hospice unit in Castlebar today. pic.twitter.com/hZIcLYUA8r— Connaught Telegraph (@thecontel) September 12, 2017