The US President Donald Trump has told the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, that he plans to visit Ireland in the near future.
The two men have met at the White House as part of the traditional St Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Asked by reporters whether he planned to visit Ireland, President Trump indicated that he would.
“I would love to visit Ireland soon, I will come, I love it, I have property there, I will go,” he said.
Mr Trump was also asked about the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
“That’s an interesting border, there are two interesting borders, it is going to be interesting as to what happens,” he said.
President Trump added that the relationship between the US and Ireland was “outstanding and only getting better”.
Speaking after the meeting, the Taoiseach said Mr Trump was “very aware of the [border] issue” and “very much on our side”.
Mr Varadkar was the guest of honour alongside the US President at a lunch on Capitol Hill before returning to the White House for the traditional St Patrick’s Day shamrock ceremony.
On Thursday night, the taoiseach presented President Trump with a bowl of shamrocks as part of the traditional celebrations.
During the ceremony, Mr Varadkar said the Irish government would continue to work with the US government to find a solution to the issue of undocumented Irish people in the US.
He also said that “the United States has helped build modern Ireland, one that is prosperous and at peace, self-confident about our place in the world”.
The Taoiseach, Secretary of State Karen Bradley, and NI political leaders were in Washington on Wednesday night at a gala dinner to raise funds for disadvantaged communities in Ireland.
The Irish PM had a diplomatic message about the welcoming ideals of liberty.
He said such values made America great.
“It is these spirits and these values that in my view makes America great, values which are more important than economic progress or force of arms,” he said.
DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds was among those in attendance at the Ireland America fund gala dinner.
Mr Varadkar has said efforts should be redoubled after Easter, to resolve the political deadlock at Stormont.
Mr Dodds appeared doubtful about Mr Varadkar’s hope that there could be a successful outcome to such talks aimed at restoring devolved government to Northern Ireland.
Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald, who is also in Washington DC, said any renewed process had to have a real prospect of success.
“We need to be sure that delivery is possible,” she said.
“The Taoiseach hasn’t put any specifics on the table, we wait to see what he has in mind, and we will seek to meet with him.”