PRESIDENT KENNEDY VISITED CORK AND DUBLIN 50 YEARS AGO TODAY
Cork and Dublin, Ireland (JFK+50) President John F. Kennedy arrived in CORK, Ireland's 2nd largest city, 50 years ago today, June 28, 1963.
JFK was greeted by a crowd estimated to be 100,000.
The President introduced "two or three Irishmen" who came along with him from America.
First to be introduced was presidential assistant and long-time political and personal confidant, DAVE POWERS, who, according to Mr. Kennedy, had seven of his cousins sitting with him on the front row.
The second "Irishman" to be introduced was LARRY O'BRIEN, JFK's legislative aide and the third was JIM ROLEY, head of the United States Secret Service.
JFK then said that Ireland's mission today...
"is to lead the free world (as it) has done for the last 800 years (in) independence and freedom".
Later, back at Dublin's ARBOUR HILL, President Kennedy laid a wreath at the grave of Irishmen who took part in the 1916 Easter Uprising.
JFK also watched the IRISH DEFENSE FORCES* perform impressive drills.
*Jacqueline Kennedy arranged for 24 Irish Defense Forces cadet silent drill team to perform at JFK's funeral service at Arlington on November 25, 1963.
Irish Silent Drill Team
November 25, 1963
President Kennedy then made an appearance at LEINSTER HOUSE** to speak to a joint session of the DAIL and SEANAD (Irish Parliament).
**LEINSTER HOUSE, originally the ducal palace of the Dukes of Leinster, is the seat of the national parliament of Ireland. It is located on Kildare Street in Dublin. The structure was built in 1748 by James Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare. Its 1st and 2nd floors were used as a model for the exterior of the original White House in Washington, D.C.
Dublin, Ireland (1911)
JFK spoke about the heroics of the IRISH BRIGADE in the American Civil War at the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862.
The President presented one of the surviving flags of the 69th Regiment of New York Volunteers from the battle "to the people of Ireland".
Battle Flag of the 69th Regiment
New York Volunteers
JFK said to the Irish Parliament...
"Today this is no longer the country of hunger and famine....nor is it any longer a country of persecution, political or religious. It is a free country and that is why any American feels at home.
This is an extraordinary country.
George Bernard Shaw, speaking as an Irishman, summed up an approach to life: 'Other people', he said, 'see things and...say: why? But I dream things that never were and say: why not?'"
Dail Chamber, Leinster House
June 28, 2008
Photo by AnCatDubh
President Kennedy concluded his remarks with these words...
"A great Irish poet once wrote: 'I believe profoundly...in the future of Ireland...that this is an isle of destiny, that that destiny will be glorious...and that when our hour is come, we will have something to give to the world.'
My friends: Ireland's hour has come. You have something to give to the world--and that is a future of peace with freedom."
Later, at DUBLIN CASTLE, JFK was given honorary law degrees to NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND and TRINITY COLLEGE.
"I want to express....thanks to the people of Dublin. I can imagine nothing more pleasant than continuing day after day to drive through the streets of Dublin and waving and I may come back and do it."
The President added....
"I want to say how pleased I am to have this association with these two great universities. I now feel equally a part of both and if they ever have a game of Gaelic football or hurling, I shall cheer for Trinity and pray for National."
JFK Motorcade in Dublin
June 28, 1963