In June 1963, John F. Kennedy became the first serving President of the USA to visit Ireland. He came to visit the land of his ancestors while on a European tour, flying to Dublin from Berlin after delivering his "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, in which he talked about the struggle for freedom and the threat of communism. Themes he would return to in his Irish speeches.
For RTÉ radio and television coverage of the four day presidential visit would be a huge challenge. Telefís Éireann, as RTÉ television was then called, was only on air 18 months and now had to provide live broadcasts from a variety of locations and with multiple cameras. The president was to travel from venue to venue by helicopter meaning broadcast facilities would have to be in place at each location. Additional mobile units were borrowed from other companies including the BBC who also provided advice on the live outside broadcast of major events.
Featured here are all the major events in President Kennedy’s visit, from his motorcade through Dublin city on the night of his arrival to his departure from Shannon four days later. Watch the enjoyment had by all when the President took tea at the Kennedy ancestral farm in Dunganstown, Co. Wexford. Following special permission, television cameras were allowed inside the Dáil chambers for the first when President Kennedy became the first foreign leader to address the Houses of the Oireachtas. There were solemn scenes at Arbour Hill where the president placed a wreath on the grave of the leaders of the 1916 Rising. In Limerick, Lord Mayor Frances Condell was praised by the president for her amusing welcoming speech.
Huge crowds greeted him everywhere he went, and the radio clips in particular give a flavour of the atmosphere and excitement created throughout the country.
In November 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The final part of the exhibition looks at reaction to the president's death in Ireland and RTÉ coverage of his funeral.
White House officials land in Dublin Airport. They are in Ireland to plan President Kennedy's forthcoming visit.
Members of the advance party travel to Wexford to look at every location President Kennedy proposes to visit.
The visit of President Kennedy will bring Telefís Éireann to an international audience but presents technological challenges.
Less than a week to go before President Kennedy arrives in Ireland and preparations are well and truly underway.
TV vans cross the border on their way to Dublin to cover President Kennedy's visit.
Full details of radio and television coverage and the men behind the mikes.
The arrival of President Kennedy at Dublin Airport is met with much anticipation, ceremony and rapturous applause.
President Kennedy and his party are greeted by President de Valera and a host of Irish dignitaries.
President de Valera makes a speech formally welcoming President Kennedy to Ireland and President Kennedy replies.
President Kennedy travels in a motorcade down O'Connell Street, Dublin.
The build-up to the arrival of the cavalcade on Dame Street, Dublin and the reaction of the crowd who have taken up every possible vantage point to get a glimpse of President Kennedy.
The motorcade on Day 1 of Kennedy's visit comes to an end at Áras an Uachtaráin in the Phoenix Park, Dublin.
President Kennedy’s helicopter lands in O’Kennedy Park in New Ross.
President Kennedy makes a speech at the quayside in New Ross, Co. Wexford, from where his great-grandfather emigrated.
President Kennedy arrives at the Dunganstown farm his great-grandfather came from.
Tea with President Kennedy at his ancestral farm in Dunganstown, Co. Wexford.
Denis Meehan and John Bowman report for radio on the tea party at President Kennedy’s ancestral farm in Dunganstown, Co. Wexford.
Karl Jones reports for radio from Wexford Town, where President Kennedy will shortly lay a wreath at the statue of John Barry.
President Kennedy addresses the crowd in Wexford Town.
President Kennedy attends a garden party in the rain at Áras an Uachtaráin.
Maud Liddy describes the fashions on display at the garden party at Áras an Uachtaráin.
President Kennedy’s helicopter lands in Collins Barracks, Cork.
President Kennedy receives the freedom of Cork and addresses the audience about Ireland’s role in this difficult period in history.
John Skehan describes the scene as President Kennedy tries to get from Cork City Hall through the crowds to his car.
President Kennedy lays a wreath at Arbour Hill in Dublin.
President Kennedy enters Leinster House to address the Houses of the Oireachtas.
President Kennedy presents an Irish Brigade flag from the American Civil War to the Irish people.
President Kennedy looks back at Ireland’s history and the progress it has made.
President Kennedy looks to Ireland’s future in a world dominated by larger, more powerful nations.
President Kennedy receives an honorary doctorate of law from the NUI in Dublin Castle.
President Kennedy talks about the importance of education.
On the final morning of his visit, President Kennedy bids farewell at the US Embassy residence in Dublin.
Seán Mac Réamoinn reports for radio from Eyre Square in Galway, where President Kennedy’s car is making its way.
President Kennedy talks about the links between Galway and Boston.
President Kennedy receives the freedom of Limerick.
In the final leg of his visit, President Kennedy makes a light-hearted and affectionate address to the people of Limerick.
A final word of thanks and farewell from President Kennedy at Shannon Airport moments before boarding Air Force 1.
As President Kennedy departs from Shannon, some reflections on his visit and the impact he has made in Ireland.
Letters to the RTV Guide giving feedback on radio and television coverage of President Kennedy’s visit.
Michael O’Hehir reports from New York an hour after the shooting of President Kennedy, describing the shock and confusion in the United States.
The Mayor of Limerick Frances Condell pays tribute to the late President Kennedy on RTÉ News the day after his assassination in Dallas, Texas.
Mike Burns reports for RTÉ News from the farmyard in Dunganstown, Co. Wexford, where President Kennedy had taken tea with his Irish relatives.
John Bowman takes to the streets of Dublin to get people’s reactions to the death of President Kennedy.
After the funeral mass, President Kennedy’s coffin is placed on a horse-drawn caisson outside.
Irish cadets form guard of honour at President Kennedy’s funeral by special request of his widow Jacqueline Kennedy.
President Kennedy is interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
Mourners of all congregations attend services and masses for the dead President.
Dubliners queue to sign book at US embassy.
Dublin dockers and Moore Street traders attend masses for the dead President.
The poet Patrick Kavanagh pays tribute to President Kennedy in the RTV Guide.