The biggest available red carpets will be rolled out for the visit of the most Irish US president since John F Kennedy when Joe Biden visits Ireland north and south next month.
However, there is a tricky political balancing act facing Biden, especially when it comes to dealing with Northern Ireland.
The plain fact is it is a remarkable honour to have an American president visit a country like Ireland. It speaks for the reach Ireland still has “Stateside”, despite doom-laden predictions that changes in Irish-American society have seen that influence wane.
There was a certain irony that many Irish politicians were in the US when news broke of Biden’s response to an invitation from UK prime minister, Rishi Sunak, to visit Northern Ireland and mark the 25th anniversary of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
Sinn Féin’s deputy leader and would-be first minister of Northern Ireland, Michelle O’Neill (if the stalled power-sharing structures could only be revived), was effusive in her reaction when she was asked about it in New York.
But don’t expect such enthusiasm from unionist politicians. Biden has been steadfast in his support for Dublin’s stance on the North’s special post-Brexit trade status, and he kept the pressure on London to reach a compromise with Brussels.
The compromise deal a fortnight ago has cleared the way for Biden’s visit some time in mid-April. The US president will be justifiably feted and welcomed in all parts south of the Border, but the politics of his visit to the North will be extremely tricky.
The checks on goods coming into Northern Ireland from England and Scotland have been modified in efforts to address unionist concerns. However, there is a lingering suspicion in some unionist circles that the emerging compromise is still an arrangement mainly aimed at keeping nationalist Ireland happy by ruling out a north-south land border.
The unionists are taking their time to study the new deal, and the delay still leaves a dangerous vacuum as the marching season, which spans April to August, draws near.
We have yet to learn whether Biden will address Stormont, which would have to be dragged in from its atrophy for the occasion.
Speaking in Washington, DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson stressed that his party’s response to the so-called Windsor Framework will not be rushed by Biden’s visit
“Whether the president visits or not, I have no arbitrary deadline here. I am not under any pressure in terms of timelines. I want to get this right. However long that takes is how long it will take,” he said.
At the same time, Irish America is maintaining pressure on London to resolve Troubles legacy and withdraw current draft legislation on the issue. Again, the stereotype for some unionists is that Biden is an advocate for nationalist Ireland.
But the visit will also be tricky for unionists. The strained and undeveloped relationship they have with the US reminds them how slow they have been in engaging in useful diplomacy there and how they were light years behind Irish nationalists, north and south, in that regard.
The 1998 Good Friday Agreement finally opened doors for loyalists and unionists in Washington. Some of the more honest among them ruefully admitted they were asleep while the likes of John Hume were recruiting the loyal support of political giants including Ted Kennedy and Tip O’Neill.
Unionism must now try to woo its potential American friends and remind them they are part of the United Kingdom, which has long been a key US ally.
They cannot stand sourly beside Biden when he arrives, but they are likely to curb their enthusiasm.