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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Irish Officials Debate Where in Ireland the American President Will Visit: 1963

The Kennedys in New Ross (courtesy of JFK Library

A month before President John F. Kennedy's famous visit to Ireland in June 1963, a dispute broke out between the people of New Ross, County Wexford, and Dublin government officials over where President Kennedy would visit, according to a UPI story that ran in the Boston Globe on May 27, 1963.

"Townspeople in President Kennedy's ancestral birthplace Sunday charged civil servants with 'hijacking' their famous guest away from his Irish relatives," the UPI reported. 

"We feel the President is being hijacked all over the country," a town spokesman said...."President Kennedy would prefer to stay longer with his kith and kin in the New Ross area instead of attending banquets and garden parties in Dublin."

The story continued, "New Ross is the home of President Kennedy's forefathers and should be accorded precedence over any other part of Ireland, including Dublin, (said a town spokesman)...We will demand that he stay longer than a mere 45 minutes."

A full month later, on June 27, 1963, President Kennedy arrived in New Ross and had a reunion with his relatives before addressing a crowd of 10,000 people.

The John F. Kennedy Library & Museum has extensive materials on President Kennedy's trip to Ireland in June 1963 and on his Irish ancestry.  To read a copy of President Kennedy's speech at New Ross, click here.

For information on Boston Irish history, visit  For Irish cultural events, visit