"The Kinawley blood in his system, even diluted through the generations, was to blame for it all. ‘Tis a powerful coaxiorum altogether."

 The millions of you out there with Irish blood in your arteries know as well as I that local knowledge, especially here at home maybe, is priceless.  When we say that we know the breed, seed and generation of a man or woman or child for that matter we are articulating judgments and opinions from a deep pool of old knowledge.

It is for that reason today that I doff my tweed cap in the direction of a historian priest named Ultan McGoohan from Cavan. Father Ultan’s research has totally solved for me the intriguing mysteries surrounding the charismatic John F. Kennedy.

Ultan discovered that JFK, as previously reported, has no blood link at all with Co. Cavan, especially with the border town of Ballyconnell.  The records which Ultan discovered in his researches, you see, prove quite conclusively that JFK’s ancestral roots sprang from the parish of Kinawley in my native Fermanagh.

The good priest ascertained that his great grandmother Rosanna Cox was born in Kinawley parish in 1836, close to an area I know well as Knockninny.  He even discovered that Rosanna, like so many of her generation, immigrated to Boston as a young woman and married Tom Fitzgerald there in 1856. And JFK arrived on the scene, as we know, two generations later.

Having been born and raised in the neighboring parish to Kinawley as I was it is here that my local knowledge comes powerfully into play in relation to the flamboyant President Kennedy.  He had Kinawley blood in his veins via Rosanna Cox, we now know, and that explains just about everything about the man.

It explains the easy charm and charisma and cuteness which drove him all the way to the White House in his day. And, tellingly, it also shines a spotlight upon his allegedly highly busy private life.

Down the years, as you and I know, there have been many allegations that JFK had a string of passionate affairs with ladies including, again allegedly, Marilyn Monroe and Marlene Dietrich and many others. What I am saying here and now is that the man was not to be blamed at all for any flings he had.

The Kinawley blood in his system, even diluted through the generations, was to blame for it all. ‘Tis a powerful coaxiorum altogether.

I know Kinawley very well since my youth. Its people, especially the men, are a breed apart. They are hardy, cute, tribal in the extreme, and, above all have always been known to be stone mad for women from the time they pass the age of 16.

The majority of them also are known here at home to have what is termed the “come hither” on the opposite sex.  If you were chasing a girl in the rural dance halls of my teens and twenties and a Kinawley lad was competing with you for her attentions then, bitterly, you learned quickly that you had no chance at all and it would be him who would be bringing her home when the ball was over. 

It made no difference at all what he looked like or if he was not as good a jiver as you were. He had that come hither yoke attached to him, and the truth was you hadn’t a hope at all competing against him.

Clearly, at the very highest level, the bold JFK inherited that come hither in politics and, allegedly again, in his private life and living. We are back to that breed, seed and generation stuff for sure.

There are many families in the Kinawley region who proudly bear the McManus surname through the generations here at home. There are also, still, many highly regarded Cox families of the same bloodline as Rosanna Cox.

Through the long years since, with a modicum of a young blood’s pain, I recall now escorting a pretty young Cox girl to a big dance in Lynam’s Hall in Derrylin when I was about 19 years old and the locally famed Starlight Band were playing all the hits of the day. I was Brylcreemed blackly and sleekly atop, wearing my Sunday suit of a Wednesday, and happy as Larry until I got a tap on the shoulder whilst still dancing, and this young rough enough looking McManus wearing an old tweed sports jacket and needing a haircut badly simply somehow spirited the Cox girl out of my arms and away with the pair of them like a shot. I had to cycle home alone through the rain afterwards feeling very sorry for myself.

Anyway, wherever you live nowadays, but especially in Boston or New York, there is quite likely to be a Kinawley man living in your community. Allowing a little for changed times, can I issue a warning to you that it is quite likely, no matter what he looks like, that he, too, to this day, owns the come hither factor that explains so much to me about the most famed Kinawley boy of them all.

Local knowledge, as we agreed above, solves so many mysteries.

Watch out for those Kinawley men!Caty Bartholomew