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A photograph of President John F Kennedy from 1963 in the Geraldine O'Hanrahans GAA park taken by Jackie Stacey, one of the items donated for the Tidy Towns "Community Museum" which will be launched in New Ross for the JFK50. Photo by: JFK50

Museum to open part of 50th anniversary celebration of John F Kennedy’s visit

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A photograph of President John F Kennedy from 1963 in the Geraldine O'Hanrahans GAA park taken by Jackie Stacey, one of the items donated for the Tidy Towns "Community Museum" which will be launched in New Ross for the JFK50. Photo by: JFK50

A ‘ JFK50’ museum will open in New Ross town in mid-May as part of the celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the visit of President John F Kennedy to the town.
 
The community museum, which has been collecting memorabilia and artefacts from the original visit of President John F. Kennedy to the two, and his ancestral home in 1963, will open to the public at Bailey’s Shop on North Street in New Ross town.
 
One of the curators of the community museum Ray Flynn commented, “Earlier this year we invited resident of New Ross and the region to loan to us any memorabilia they had in their possession, that was in anyway connected with the historic visit of President John F. Kennedy to Ireland in the 1960s, we called out for photographs, flags, souvenirs, newspaper articles or even parts of the original podium, the response we have received has been phenomenal.
 
We have had some really interesting pieces come into the museum some of which include a letter to the Hickey Family in New Ross, the Hicky family owned a blanket factory in the town and presented President Kennedy with a specially made blanket during his visit, sometime after he returned to the U.S. they received a very nice thank you letter from the White house.
 
We also have hundreds of fantastic photographs, many of these include children from the town at the time and it has been a fascinating experience to identify these children who are now grown adults and to hear their memories of the iconic day in ’63.
 
Another fascinating piece has been donated by Rita Malone from the twon, Rita was 12 years old during the visit and it clearly had a last impression on Rita as for years afterwards she collected every press clipping she could find on President Kennedy and she has presented the museum with five large scrapbooks.
 
In general the feeling is that when Kennedy came to New Ross he had an amazing and a still lasting effect on the town and we feel that this museum really captured that feeling.” Ray conculuded.
 
All items included in the museum have been carefully catalogued and will be on display for the duration of the JFK50 celebrations, and local volunteers will staff the museum.
 
If you wish to loan any items to the Museum please contact New Ross Tidy Towns Committee or New Ross and District Chamber Office on 051-361011.
 
The town recently announced the stage line-up for celebrations in New Ross for ‘The Homecoming’ on June 22, this features Wexford ambassador, journalist, presenter and former RTE news reader Anne Doyle who will take to the stage on New Ross Quayside and welcome visitors to Wexford as well as introduce the formidable line-up, which will include the critically acclaimed award winning author and Wexford ambassador Colm Toibin who will recite from the stage.  George Hook, well-known broadcaster, TV critic and Kennedy fan will assist Anne.
 
International singer and Wexford ambassador Michael Londra who will preform a song he has written especially for the event with Grammy award winning songwriter Marcus Hummon.
 
World-renowned dancer, musician and performer Michael Flatley, who will narrate the journey and significance of the Emigrant Flame before it’s symbolic lighting on the quayside, evoking the spirit and inspiration of the Kennedys and the entire Irish emigrant family. And American Grammy award winning singer and songwriter Judy Collins, one of the great icons of American music, will also entertain visitors from the stage with some wonderful pieces from her vast songbook. Extreme Rhythm, the most hightly acclaimed percussion group in Europe, led by Wexford Town man Nicky Bailey, will also perform in honour of JFK and the Kennedy Family and World pipe band champions, New Ross and District Pipe Band will also entertain the special guests and viewing public.
 
For further details on all of the events taking place throughout the year for the JFK50 see www.jfk50ireland.com.

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