SPECULATION intensified last night that US President Barack Obama will pay a visit to Ireland in the summer.
This followed the disclosure he had accepted an official invitation to visit England on May 24 and will be accompanied by his wife, Michelle.
The Department of Foreign Affairs here extended an open invitation to Mr Obama when he took office, but the US president has yet to officially accept the offer.
The tiny Offaly village of Moneygall, where his third-great grandfather, Fulmouth Kearney, grew up, is now more optimistic than ever that he will visit considering he will only be 'across the water' in May.
If he decides to visit, an itinerary can be arranged and all security can be in place with just three weeks' notice.
Henry Healy -- the man known worldwide as Mr Obama's eighth cousin -- said: "It's probably now or never.
"The country could do with a lift and an inspirational leader at this time so the door to Moneygall is always open."