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President John F. Kennedy came to Ireland in 1963 to an emotional welcome from the Irish people.
Part of his trip was visiting his ancestral home in Wexford and meeting relatives and most memorably joining in with the choir of 300 boys who sang “The Boys of Wexford” as a welcome to him.
In a speech at the quayside in New Ross, from where his great-grandfather had set sail for America in 1948 to flee the famine, he said, "When my great-grandfather left here to become a cooper in East Boston he carried nothing with him except two things - a strong religious faith and a strong desire for liberty. I am glad to say that all of his grandchildren have valued that inheritance."
Much of the pride all over the country came from the fact that he was seen by many Irish people as being a glorious representative of the emigrant family that had made it in America - not only in wealth but being elected to the leadership of the United States.
In this documentary, made twenty-one years after the visit, Aidan C. Matthews recalls the visit and the impact on the country with contributions from Sister Benvuta, Margaret McCurtain, TK Whittaker, TP Coogan from the Irish Press, Professor Terence Browne from Trinity College, Michael O’Riordan, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Ireland, TP Hardiman of RTE, Ciaran Carty of the Sunday Independent, Senator Eoin Ryan, TD Paddy Donegan and Ronan Fannin of UCD.
Produced and presented by Aidan C. Mathews
First broadcast 11th March 1985
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