Organizers of the JFK50 Homecoming in New Ross are anticipating upwards of 20,000 visitors for the festival on June 22, which will mark the 50th anniversary of the JFK’s trip to Ireland.
The event will also host the biggest clan gathering of the Kennedy family with over 30 members of the family due to descend upon their ancestral hometown.
The JFK50 Homecoming celebrations will include an ‘American Themed Community Parade’ taking to the streets of New Ross at 3pm. Local musical and dance acts will perform from 1.30 to 4pm on the stage on the Quay prior to the commencement of the main event which begins just before 6.00 p.m. with the arrival of the Irish Naval Ship the LE Orla on the New Ross quayside.
The Emigrant Flame will be taken ashore from the LE Orla by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, sister of President Kennedy and will be received by Taoiseach Enda Kenny signalling the commencement of the national event with a line up of Irish and international performers continuing until 8pm.
Michael Flatley will narrate the journey of the Emigrant Flame before the lighting ceremony at the Emigrant Flame monument. Recorded video footage of the lighting of the Emigrant Flame from the ‘Eternal Flame’ at President Kennedy’s graveside at Arlington National Cemetery will be screened.
To mark the special occasion Enda Kenny will officially open the new visitor centre at the Kennedy Homestead and plant a tree in a ceremony to re-dedicate the John F Kennedy Memorial Park.
Outlining the day's events, Town Manager Eamonn Hore said, “Fifty years ago this month President John F. Kennedy before he left Ireland to return to America said, “This is not the land of my birth, but is the land for which I hold the greatest affection, and I certainly will come back in the spring time.”
“With these words President Kennedy stirred the hearts of a nation. During his visit the President enjoyed the warmth and hospitability of the Irish and rekindled his familial ties to his ancestral homestead here in New Ross. Tragically President Kennedy’s life was cut short and he was not allowed to fulfil his wish to return. Now fifty years on the people of New Ross along with millions across the globe remember and cherish the memory of President Kennedy and that memory will be honored and celebrated in New Ross on June 22 at the JFK50.”
For further details on all events taking place on June 22 and throughout the year for the JFK50, see jfk50ireland.com.
John F. Kennedy in New Ross and Wexford, Ireland, June 27th 1963.