"I'm a phone call away."

So said US President Joe Biden to Taoiseach Micheál Martin towards the end of their 80-minute conversation today. 

The vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean may have separated the two leaders, but this virtual meeting appears to have delivered.

The Irish access to the US political system is unparalleled in diplomatic terms when it comes to celebrating national holidays. 

Yet, for the US President to effectively say - ring me anytime - is a diplomatic win, even from someone so openly proud of his Irish heritage. 

Some must have feared that a virtual meeting could lead to downgrading of St Patrick's Day into the future, however the outcome seems to have been a deepening of ties.   

One indication of that came from the Taoiseach in tonight's news conference in Dublin when he described their exchanges as "very very positive". 

Another indication came from the fact that today's meeting was much longer than previous St Patrick's Day exchanges. 

As well as recalling the "very strong" historic relationship between the two countries, the two men quickly got down to substantive talks - the most pressing being Covid-19, vaccines and the economic recovery. 

Mr Martin said President Biden went through "in some detail" his view on the crisis, adding he "is very anxious to get his people vaccinated as quickly as he possibly can".  

The meeting clarified that it will be the summer before the US has a clear understanding of how its own vaccination programme is progressing and, therefore, its capacity to help other countries after that point. 

Mr Martin didn't directly answer questions tonight about whether he sought to get US vaccines exported to Ireland, but he did say that there was no "stockpile" in the country. 

If the US is out of the picture for now, that might explain why Mr Martin called for what he termed a "proper engagement" between the EU and the UK on AstraZeneca, saying that he didn't like talk of blocking vaccines when supply lines needed to be kept open. 

A key objective, from the Irish side, was to bring-up Brexit and the recent EU-UK row over the Northern Ireland protocol.

The Irish Government will be delighted that, as the Taoiseach said, President Biden reiterated his "strong commitment" to the Good Friday Agreement as well as his resolve to ensure there is no return to the borders of the past

In a joint statement afterwards, the two leaders called for "the good faith implementation of international agreements designed to address the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland." 

That's precisely what the Taoiseach would have wanted. 

Ireland's current seat on the UN Security Council was also discussed including securing humanitarian access to Syria; climate security; and of particular interest to the US - getting aid into war ravaged Tigray region of Ethiopia, a country Ireland has strong links with. 

Both men too are clearly intent on visiting each other.

The Taoiseach said tonight: "The President was very anxious that I would get to the United States at some stage, and that we would meet-up in person."

For his part, the US President said his family wouldn't forgive him if he didn't visit Ireland during his term in office. 

Behind the scenes, the Irish Cabinet was also busy holding virtual meetings - for example, the Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe held one with the US Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen. 

However the Taoiseach-President meeting is always going to garner most attention - doubly so when the occupant of the White House is so Irish. 

In his public comments this afternoon, he regaled the Taoiseach with a story of his relative Ambrose Finnegan, from the Louth side of his ancestry, who would say to him every time he left the house: "Remember - the best drop of blood in you is Irish." 

President Biden's deep affection for Ireland is clear and it's something which could be of significant benefit to the "old country".