A Fermanagh priest digging through parish records has discovered that JFK did not have links to Ballyconnell.

A town in Northern Ireland may lose its biggest claim to fame.

It has always been stated that Rosanna Cox, the great grandmother of President Kennedy, hailed from Ballyconnell in County Cavan.

JFK visits Ireland, 1963. Image via Kennedy Library

JFK visits Ireland, 1963. Image via Kennedy Library

Digging through old records, a Fermanagh priest has made a discovery that contradicts this.

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According to The Fermanagh Herald, Fr. Ultan McGoohan was perusing documents when he uncovered that Cox’s heritage stems back to Knockninny in neighboring County Fermanagh.

Fr. McGoohan, who is director of Pastoral Services in the Kilmore Diocese of Cavan, offered that the woman was indeed born and baptised in the parish of Tomregan. While Tomregan is now known as the Ballyconnell area in Cavan, during her era it would actually have been classified as Fermanagh.

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To validate his beliefs, he found that Cox’s father, Philip, was also baptised in a Fermanagh parish named Kinawley. Subsequent evidence pointed to the family living in the nearby town of Tullymore East during the 1860s.

Fr. McGoohan believes that there may be some distant relatives to the Fitzgeralds still living in the Knockninny and Kinawley areas.

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Rosanna Cox, born in 1836, later emigrated to Boston where she met and married Thomas Fitzgerald in 1857. Their son John Francis Fitzgerald later became Mayor of Boston. When his daughter, Rose, married Joe Kennedy, one of the most important political dynasties of the age was initiated.

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