During a four day visit to Ireland in 1963 JFK charmed the Irish people. The president received a warm welcome at his ancestral homeland in County Wexford. Hundreds cheered and waved Irish and American flags on his arrival.
Kennedy enjoyed a cup of tea and some cake with members of his extended Irish family!
On Saturday 22nd June, the 50th anniversary of JFK’s visit to Ireland was celebrated at the Kennedy family ancestral home in New Ross, County Wexford.
Thousands of people took part in a day long street party that culminated in the lighting of an eternal flame brought from Kennedy’s grave in Arlington Cemetry. The flame arrived in Ireland on a flight from New York, the Irish Navel Services transported it on board a navy vessel and on to New Ross. Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny joined JFK’s only surviving sibling, Jean Kennedy Smith, and his only surviving child, Caroline Kennedy, together they held three torches that lit the flame encased within an iron globe.
John Kennedy’s great grandfather Patrick Kennedy emigrated from Ireland at the height of the potato famine in 1848 to settle in Boston. In 1963 his great-grandson John returned to New Ross. President Kennedy embodied the success story of the Irish emigrant family, from famine emigrant to the United States’ first and only Irish Catholic president.
The eternal flame, will burn to remember all Irish emigrants. A new emigrant trial opened featuring 3 heritage sites in the vicinity of New Ross, the permanent home of the Dunbrody ‘coffin’ ship.