July 22, 2012
"JOHNNY, I HARDLY KNEW YE" IX
Kenneth O'Donnell continues to discuss JFK's trip to Ireland in late June 1963.
At one point, President Kennedy obviously enjoying himself in Ireland, said that in 1968 he would support the Democratic candidate for President of the United States "who would promise to appoint him Ambassador to Ireland."
From NEW ROSS, JFK & his party then traveled to CORK, "the hotbed of the Irish Revolution."*
There at City Hall, the Lord Mayor, Alderman Sean Casey, conferred the FREEDOM OF THE CITY upon JFK.
JFK with Lord Mayor Sean Casey
Cork City Hall
June 28, 1963
Photo by Robert Knudsen
JFK Library Image
JFK took this opportunity to introduce his friend & assistant David Powers, who was sitting with seven 1st cousins, to the audience by saying:
"Dave looks more Irish than his cousins."
JFK also introduced Monsignor Michael O'Mahoney, the pastor of his church in Florida. The President said:
"He is the pastor of a poor, humble flock in PALM BEACH..."
After CORK, JFK attended a luncheon at the American Embassy in Dublin & a memorial service at ARBOUR HILL, where the executed leaders of the 1916 EASTER RISING are buried.
At this service, the cadets from IRELAND'S MILITARY COLLEGE at THE CURRAGH performed.
JFK felt this was "the outstanding highlight of his visit." He said:
"Those cadets were terrific. I wish we had a film of that drill so that we could do something like it at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier."**
*The Irish Rebellion of 1641 was the attempt by the Irish Catholic gentry to seize control of the government & force concessions in favor of Catholics under English rule.
Cork became a stronghold for English protestants who sought refuge there after the revolt broke out.
Since the 19th Century, Cork has been strongly in favor of Irish nationalism.
From the time of the POTATO FAMINE, Cork was the main port of emigrants from Ireland to the United States & other countries.
**JFK described the drill to Jackie when he returned to the USA & she arranged to have the same group of Irish cadets take part at the President's funeral service at Arlington.