Saturday, August 29, 2015



Blackrock, County Dublin, Ireland (JFK+50) Forty years ago today, August 29, 1975,  Eamon de Valera,* President of Ireland from 1959 to 1973 and head of the government of the Irish Free State, died at the age of 92.

President John F. Kennedy, the first American president of Irish descent, visited Ireland in June 1963.  President de Valera welcomed him in both English and Irish languages, but according to John Spain, JFK would later include a comment in his speech to the Dail (the Irish Parliament), that was taken as an insult by de Valera.

Smith refers to Ryan Tubridy's research for his book "JFK in Ireland" in which Tubridy learned that the JFK comment was not appreciated by de Valera.

In his speech, President Kennedy made reference to Lord Edward FitzGerald, who once occupied Leinster House** and in a letter to his mother had written...
"Leinster House does not inspire the brightest ideas."  Although JFK added "that was a long time ago, however," Mr. de Valera was displeased.

The Irish president was later overheard saying to President Kennedy that he had "done no service to Irish politicians by this quotation."  Ryan Tubridy was surprised to learn that de Valera had the offensive line removed from "all published versions of the speech."

*Eamon de Valera (1882-1975) was born to a Spanish father & Irish mother in New York City.  When his father died when Eamon was 2 years old, his mother returned with him to Ireland.

EdV graduated from Blackrock College & became a math professor.  He joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913 and served in the uprising of 1916.  EdV was first elected as president of Ireland in 1917 after having been released from prison.

**Leinster House, located in Dublin was completed in 1748 and since 1922 served as the parliament building of the Irish Free State.  It was formerly ducal residence of the Duke of Leinster.  The building was also the HQ of the Royal Dublin Society (1815-1922).

The 1st & 2nd floors of LH were used as models for the interior of the White House and the exterior used as a model for the White House exterior.  The White House was designed by Irish-American architect James Hoban.

Leinster House, 1914
Dublin, Ireland


"Eamon De Valera (1882-1975)," Clare County Library,

"President Greets President, 1963," RTE Archives,

"The Boy is Back in Town:  De Valera and Fianna Fail's electoral victory in 1932," by Jason Myers, The Ultimate History Project,

"The day the Long Fella cut legendary JFK down to size," by John Spain, Entertainment Books, October 23, 2010,