Ireland will never forget JFK according to Prime Minister Enda Kenny who told a Wexford celebration of the President’s visit that his legacy will live long on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Irish leader formally welcomed the extended Kennedy clan, led by JFK’s daughter Caroline and sister Jean, to the town of New Ross for Saturday’s homecoming.
Addressing the huge crowd at the party to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the President’s visit to his homeland, Kenny spoke warmly of the Kennedy family and Ireland’s links with America.
He said: “We recall the young president’s faith and confidence in an ancient nation, a young Republic.
“That our future is as promising as our past is proud.... that our destiny lies not as a peaceful island in a sea of troubles.... but as a maker and shaper of world peace’.”
The Irish Times reports that PM Kenny welcomed guests and said they were particularly honoured to have among them John F Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy.
He added: “Just this week, world leaders have been meeting on this island to discuss such making and shaping. President Kennedy’s preoccupations - hunger, malnutrition, war, peace- remain priorities today.”
Caroline Kennedy and her family were the guests of honour as Kenny officially opened a new visitor centre in the Wexford homeland.
She told the crowd: “We treasure our relationship with Ireland.”
Accompanied by her husband Edwin and their three children Rose, Tatiana and Jack, Caroline visited the Kennedy family homestead in Dunganstown for the official opening of the impressive Kennedy Homestead Visitor Centre.
The new attraction tells the story of JFK’s 1963 visit and the wider story of the Kennedy family’s roots in New Ross where Patrick Kennedy left for Boston in the 1840s.
The quayside in New Ross witnessed the arrival of a flame, lit on Tuesday at the eternal flame on the assassinated president’s grave in Arlington Cemetery in Virginia.
The flame was presented to Irish PM Kenny by Jean Kennedy Smith, former US ambassador to Ireland.
A group of special Olympians then carried the flame to a new feature in front of the Dunbrody famine ship and visitor centre, a replica vessel to the ship of the same name on which Patrick Kennedy left Ireland for Liverpool and ultimately the New World.