He will become the first serving president of Ireland to make an official visit next month, as part of a trip to Latin America.
He confirmed yesterday he has accepted invitations from the heads of state of Cuba, Colombia, and Peru, as he opened an exhibition in University College Cork on the role of leading Irish figures in the development of Latin America.
The exhibition honours figures such as General Daniel O’Leary, born in Cork in 1801, and who was the aide-de-camp to the great liberator of the Americas, Simon Bolívar, and Eliza Lynch, a national heroine in Paraguay.
Curated by Margaret Brehony, it tells the little-known story of the hundreds of Irish railroad workers who were brought from New York to Cuba in the mid 19th century to work alongside Canary Islanders and African slaves on the Havana-Guines railroad. Many of them died on the project.