Monday, June 10, 2013


June 10, 2013


Charleston, South Carolina (JFK+50) The 1st Irish-American President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, would have been proud today as the city of Charleston, South Carolina dedicates a memorial in honor of the contributions of the Irish to the State of South Carolina and the United States of America.

Those contributions included fighting in the American Civil War, laboring on the bridges across Charleston harbor, signing the Declaration of Independence and serving as city mayors.

Michael Collins*, Ireland's Ambassador to the United States, will join other Irish officials, including those from Charleston's 'twin locale' County Claire and Charleston Mayor Joe Riley** in dedicating the memorial.

The Irish Memorial is located at the end of Charlotte Street on the Charleston Harbor waterfront.  The official name of the site, designed by Sheila Wertimer, will be CHARLOTTE STREET PARK.^

                    Charlotte Street Park
                   City of Charleston, SC
            Photo by John White (2013)

^The Irish Central website refers to it as "The South Carolina Irish Memorial."

The park includes a concrete pier which extends out over the water and a raised 30 x 24 foot carved granite map of Ireland.  There are also plaques displayed with quotes about Irish immigration to the United States.

               Irish Immigrant Memorial
                    Charlotte Street Park
                         Charleston, SC
             Photo by John White (2013)

David McCann, a member of the memorial committee, describes the park as "beautiful, (they did) a remarkable job."

The park was completed at a cost of $2.4 million.

*Michael Collins was born in Dublin in 1953 and graduated from Trinity College in 1978.  Before becoming US ambassador, he served as ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Emirates as well as ambassador to the Czech Republic and Ukraine.

**Joseph P. Riley, Jr. was born in Charleston, S.C. in 1943.  He graduated from The Citidel in 1964, and USC College of Law in 1967.  Mr. Riley has served 10 terms as mayor of Charleston since 1975.  He is a Democrat and member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition.  

                    Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr.
                        US Navy Photo (2010)


"Charleston's new Irish memorial park dedication set for June 10," by Schuyler Kropf, May 28, 2013,

"Irish ambassador, South Carolina officials dedicate memorial," ABC NEWS 4, Charleston,

"Irish ambassador, South Carolina officials dedicate memorial," by Bruce Smith-AP,

"South Carolina Irish Memorial Park celebrating emigrants to be opened this month," by Amanda Driscoll,

UPDATE: June 27, 2013


Charleston, South Carolina (JFK+50) As promised, JFK+50 is back in Charleston today where we made the pilgrimage down to Charlotte Avenue Park to visit the newly opened IRISH IMMIGRANT MEMORIAL.

We walked from the Market several blocks along East Bay Street in the heat and humidity.  The park is located beyond the Fort Sumter Historic Site National Park Service Building and the Charleston Aquarium.

There were only 2 people sitting on one of the benches in the park.  Otherwise it was completely deserted.  I found it heartening to be visiting the Irish Memorial on the day 50 years ago that JFK visited Ireland.

The park is beautiful and the large stone map of the Emerald Isle is indeed impressive.  For good photographs it would be best to go in the morning, but for a cooler, less humid experience, perhaps dusk would be best.

Following are some of the photographs I made today of the memorial.

June 10, 2013


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President John F. Kennedy was the keynote speaker at graduation ceremonies of American University in Washington, D.C. 50 years ago today, June 10, 1963.

JFK, in a break from cold war tradition, made peace overtures to the USSR.

The President said that despite our philosophical differences...

"We can still hail the Russian people for their many achievements--in science and space, in economic and industrial growth, in culture and in acts of courage."

JFK called for....

 "a genuine peace, the kind that makes life on earth worth living..." 

He also announced that talks would soon begin in Moscow between Soviet, British and American representatives to work out a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty.

The President said:

"In the final analysis our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet, we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children's future, and we are all mortal."

       JFK Speaks at American University
                       Washington, D.C.
                          June 10, 1963
               Photo by Cecil Stoughton
                       JFK Library Photo