Biden plans trip 'home' to trace family roots
US vice-president Joe Biden will visit Ireland next month to trace his family roots.
Mr Biden told an audience in Washington that his Irish heritage has "shaped" his entire life.
It is expected he will spend four days travelling the country, including Louth and Mayo where his ancestors came from.
The vice-president was speaking at the opening night of a gala production of Irish music and culture to commemorate the 1916 Rising at the Kennedy Centre.
"I am proud to be descended from Irish immigrants, from County Mayo and County Louth. Being Irish has shaped my entire life."
The event was also attended by several members of the Kennedy family, the US chief justice John Roberts, senator George Mitchell and Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who Mr Biden described as "a man I have come to consider a really good friend".
The vice-president and Mr Kenny jointly launched 'Ireland 100' which was directed by actress Fiona Shaw.
Mr Biden said: "Tonight we celebrate our shared history, in the expression found in the arts and performance. In cascading verse of Irish poets, playwrights and novelists, we see the spirits that were within the tenacious immigrants that came to these shores.
"Throughout the history of both of our great nations it is clear the Irish heart and imagination does not have any limits whatsoever.
"So tonight, in celebrating Ireland's contribution to the arts, we celebrate everything that Ireland has become, everything she will become and everything that she has always been."