Irish-American US Senator Ted Kennedy believed that his interaction with John Hume changed how he viewed the situation in Northern Ireland, and the role that the US ultimately played in the peace process.

Today the Edward M Kennedy Oral History Project released around 5,000 pages of transcripts comprising nearly 300 interviews, including 29 conducted with the senator before this death.

Northern Ireland's peace process was a key part of Senator Kennedy's life and work and there were a number of interviews conducted with Irish people for the project.

Former taoisigh Bertie Ahern, Albert Reynolds and Garret FitzGerald were interviewed for the project, as were Mr Hume, Gerry Adams, Dermot Ahern, Sean Donlon, Niall O'Dowd, Sean O'Huiginn and Michael Lillis.

In the interviews, Ted Kennedy describes being moved originally by the British policy of internment in Northern Ireland.

He said he met Mr Hume in 1972 as the violence was escalating and the British dissolved the Stormont parliament.

Senator Kennedy said he called Mr Hume to meet him in Bonn and he said this was "where John began the great education of Edward Kennedy about Northern Ireland and planted the seeds that grew and grew and grew into a wonderful relationship".

He spoke warmly in several interviews about Mr Hume and his approach to the peace process.

"You'll find the resonance of Hume's sense about different communities, different traditions working together based on respect and non-violence.

"There were different formulations as time went along, but at the core of it was that different traditions ought to be able to work out their differences through mutual respect".

Senator Kennedy said that Mr Hume lived the mantra of "the political process rather than the bomb and the bullet" and encouraged him to change his views of the peace process, saying: "I believe it's important to listen to the ones who are risking their lives and are attempting to do it in a non-violent way … these people were tough individuals who were risking everything and were still non-violent".

He said that caused him in 1973 to outline a different framework on the US foreign policy for Northern Ireland.

He condemned the violence of the IRA, the UDA and the British troops and condemned the flow of "arms or any funds for arms" from the US to Ireland.

He also discusses the circumstances leading up to including references to Ireland in the democratic platform in 1976 - the first time that the Democratic platform had ever included a reference to Ireland.

Senator Kennedy said that Jimmy Carter was aware of what he and Congressman Bruce Morrison were doing, but it was considered "different and controversial", adding that "the British were very strongly against us".

He discusses how in 1977, he joined forces with the then speaker Tip O'Neill, Congressman Hugh Carey and Pat Moynihan in what he describes as the Four Horsemen urging Irish-Americans not to provide financial support to the IRA or to engage in violence.

The interviews also cover the period relating to the issuance of a visa for Gerry Adams to travel to the US.

Senator Kennedy said that he spent New Year’s in Ireland with his sister, then Ambassador Jean Kennedy-Smith. He left America for the trip opposed to issuing the visa, and returned after the vacation in favour of it.

He describes the fraught process to get the visa agreed, including the "lobbying like the devil" that the State Department and the British government were doing.

But Senator Kennedy said he believed that issuing the visa was going to give peace a chance.

He said he believed President Bill Clinton became so vested in Ireland because he "found that this thing worked. I think he wasn't having a lot of successes in a lot of different places, and this was a process that was going through and looked like it had some real prospect of making it".

In the wealth of interviews, Teddy Kennedy discussed how the discrimination suffered by his Irish-born grandfather Honey Fitz in Boston shaped his views on civil rights.