In his final official call with the outgoing US Ambassador to Ireland Kevin O’Malley, President Obama said he’d be visiting Ireland again soon.
“The lasts sentence that the president said to me on Wednesday of this week when we were saying goodbye was ‘please tell ‘em I’m coming’,” Ambassador O’Malley told Marian Finucane in an interview on RTE Radio.
“So I think that’s the President’s way of saying informally that you’ll probably see him again.”
As for a time-frame, O’Malley predicted “my guess is in the coming year or so.”
The message offers a sliver of insight into Obama’s plans after his presidency comes to an end and Donald Trump is inaugurated on January 20, and if his 2011 visit is any indication, Obama will be very warmly received on his next Irish trip as a private citizen.
During his 2011 visit, the President and First Lady Michelle Obama visited Moneygall, Co. Offaly, the town from which Obama’s Irish ancestor, Falmouth Kearney, hailed.
Obama also addressed a crowd of 60,000 at College Green in Dublin’s city center, where he famously introduced himself as “Barack Obama, of the Moneygall O’Bamas. I am here to find the apostrophe that we lost along the way,” spoke to the special and enduring ties between Ireland and America, and concluded with the Irish translation of his 2008 campaign slogan, “Yes we can” - “Is féidir linn.”
Michelle Obama returned to Dublin in the summer of 2013 with their daughters, Sasha and Malia, while President Obama attended the G8 summit, held that year in Northern Ireland.
O’Malley, one of the many non-career diplomats ordered to return to the US prior to Trump’s inauguration, will have long since left his post if and when Obama visits Ireland in the coming year. Trump’s pick for the role is Irish American businessman, attorney and philanthropist Brian Burns.