Dublin, Ireland (JFK+50) In honor of St. Patrick's Day, JFK+50 will reflect today on one of the rare occasions when President John F. Kennedy was moved to sing in public. Our 35th President was endowed with many talents, but as he himself would have admitted, singing was not necessarily one of them.
On June 26, 1963, however, during a luncheon reception here in Dublin, the President was..."moved by impulse to stand up and sing," along with his close friend and administrative aide, David Powers, "The Wearing of the Green."
Oh, Paddy dear, an' did ye hear the news that's goin' round?
The shamrock is by law forbid to grow on Irish ground.
No more St. Patrick's day we'll keep, his color can't be seen,
For there's a cruel law agin' the wearin' of the green.
JFK was as happy in Ireland as the Irish were happy to have him. The Dublin Evening Herald proclaimed..."Mr. Kennedy has returned to Ireland as the living symbol of the Irish triumph over the trials and tribulations of history."
The Irish Independent added..."The great grandson of the famine emigrant who left in misery and sorrow comes to his point of origin honored like a king. We welcome him for himself and in memory of many generations."
JFK in Ireland
The first Kennedy to come to America was Patrick who left County Wexford and the potato famine behind in 1849. He sailed on the Washington Irving. It was a one month 3000 mile journey during which he met his future bride, Bridget Murphy, who was also from County Wexford.
They settled in East Boston's "crowded, teeming slums" where their fourth child and first son, JFK's grandfather, Patrick Joseph Kennedy was born in 1858.
Of the 43 men who have served in the office of the Presidency, there has been only one of direct Irish descent on both sides of his family. That man, of course, was John F. Kennedy. It is fitting and proper, then, that we honor JFK on this day of Irish celebration.
"The Irish in America," edited by Michael Coffey, text by Terry Golway, Hperion, New York, 1997.
"One of Ourselves: John Fitzgerald Kennedy in Ireland," by James Robert Carroll, Images From the Past, Bennington, Vermont, 2003.