New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly gave his ancestral home a rave review at the launch of Tourism Ireland’s Jump into Ireland campaign in New York last week.

Speaking to the Irish Voice, Kelly described Ireland as a “great place to go” and said that he plans on returning for a visit in the not so distant future.

Commissioner Kelly joined Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny, along with dozens of representatives from the business, tourism, and media industries, for the Tourism Ireland event at the New York Athletic Club last Thursday.

Kelly spoke to the Irish Voice about his Irish heritage. “I was just talking to the taoiseach about my roots and going back and how important it is to do that,” he said. “My folks are from Roscommon for the most part.”

Kelly said that Ireland remains a great destination for those interested in their Irish roots.

“So many New Yorkers trace their heritage back to Ireland, so it makes sense to me to have people travel back there,” he told the Irish Voice.

“It’s not a long trip and it is easy to do, you don’t have any language problems, so it’s a great place to go.”

When asked about his best memories of his visits to Ireland, the New Yorker admitted it was trips to the Irish bars that stand out in his mind.

“It sounds so stereotypical but we had some great times in some pubs, really happy times that I will always remember,” he said.

Tourism Ireland launched its new campaign last week to encourage tourism to Ireland, and a new Jump Into Ireland logo to encourage visitors to immerse themselves in all things Irish.

According to a Tourism Ireland press release, the aim of Jump Into Ireland is “to raise awareness of the moments of wonder that form part of an Ireland vacation. To awaken the imagination and show the consumer how they will be less like a tourist and more like a participant in an immersive Ireland experience.”

Tourism Ireland U.S. Executive Vice President Joe Byrne said, “With great access and attractive on-the-ground offers, Ireland is well positioned to deliver what the consumer needs. We hope our new brand will bring this proposition to life and encourage our great friends from the U.S. to include Ireland on their vacation calendars in 2012.”

For more information on Tourism Ireland’s “Jump into Ireland” campaign, visit


Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at last week’s Jump Into Ireland launch in New York.Margaret Purcell Roddy