Kevin O'Malley, United States Ambassador to Ireland. RollingNews

The United States Ambassador to Ireland Kevin F. O’Malley will officially step down from his role and depart Ireland on January 20, the day President Obama leaves office.

Of his tenure, Ambassador O’Malley said, “I have been blessed to represent my country in the land from which my grandparents originated. At each county, at each stop, the hospitality extended to both myself and my wife Dena has been heartwarming.  Looking to the future, one thing I know for sure is that America’s relationship with Ireland will continue to thrive because the ties that already exist are so deeply rooted, very strong, and growing in many ways every year.

“Our relationship with Ireland does not depend on any one person. Ours is a fabric of people to people connections that has been woven and nurtured and refreshed over the centuries.  I look forward to continuing to build on, broaden, and strengthen our Irish-American friendship in the years to come.”

During his visit to Ireland in June 2016, US Vice President Joe Biden noted how Ambassador O'Malley "has gone out of his way to reach in every nook and cranny, every organization – big and small – to get to know this country.  And I think he’s done our country a great, great service."

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Ambassador O’Malley has been thrilled to officially visit every county in Ireland during his tenure.

At the annual 2016 White House St. Patrick's Day celebration, President Barack Obama said of Ambassador O'Malley and his signature Creative Minds Series: "Although Kevin’s only been in Ireland for 18 months, he has crammed in almost eight years of work. One of his legacies will be his Creative Minds initiative, in which he’s been busy connecting the next generation of Irish and American leaders."

Kevin O'Malley with his wife and dogs at the Ambassador's residence in the Phoenix Park.

Kevin O'Malley with his wife and dogs at the Ambassador's residence in the Phoenix Park.

The Creative Minds Series launched in January 2015 opened the doors of Deerfield, the official residence of the US Ambassador in Phoenix Park, to prominent US and Irish artists, musicians, filmmakers, animators, entrepreneurs, technology experts, and restaurateurs to spark new collaborations and people to people connections.

Kevin F. O’Malley was sworn in as US Ambassador to Ireland on September 30, 2014 and presented his credentials to President Michael D. Higgins on October 8, 2014. Prior to his appointment, Ambassador O’Malley, an attorney whose trial skills have earned him Fellowship in the American College of Trial Lawyers, was a partner at Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C., in St. Louis.

Ambassador O’Malley has strong Irish roots. Both of his parents were Irish and his paternal grandparents immigrated from Westport in County Mayo approximately one hundred years ago. His wife Dena, sons Brendan and Ryan, and grandsons, Caelan and Rowan have lived in and visited Ireland during the Ambassador’s tenure.

Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy Reece Smyth will become Chargé D’affaires upon Ambassador O’Malley’s departure on January 20.

Read more: US Ambassador Kevin O'Malley on living his Irish dream as ambassador