Initial plans by the White House have President Barack Obama staying in Ireland for only a little over five hours according to sources, before heading to London on May 23rd.
The short time comes as a major shock to Irish authorities who are expecting at least a day’s worth of activities and an overnight.
However, at the initial planning stage, the White House personnel penciled in only five hours for the Irish leg of the European trip.
One White House insider called it a “hot minute” trip when asked to describe it.
The earliest plan has the president arriving in Dublin for several events and then flying by helicopter to Moneygall, the ancestral home of his sixth great grandfather Falmouth Kearney where he would land on the local GAA playing field.
He would then take part in the events in the village to celebrate his arrival.Afterwards plans are that he would fly to Britain where he is to take part in a state visit.
An insider said Obama was making the trip purely at the behest of American Ambassador Dan Rooney who had played a key role in Obama’s victory in Pennsylvania. As owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers Rooney’s endorsement had meant a tremendous amount to Obama.
Sources were quick to stress that the preliminary program may well be altered significantly as the date of the trip looms.
They also stated that there was a new awareness in the White House that such a short trip could have negative rather than positive implications for Obama among Irish Americans and that it would be seen as purely an election vote getting gimmick.