Saturday 23 September 2017

Where were you when you heard about JFK?

Micheal O Muircheartaigh
Micheal O Muircheartaigh
Ronnie Delany
Geraldine Plunkett
John Bowman
Alan Dukes
Mick O'Dwyer

Micheal O Muircheartaigh (Broadcaster)

"I was in the Metropolitan hall on Abbey Street at a teachers meeting when news spread President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas.

"It was greeted with this wall of silence, I think we were just too shocked to speak, people didn't know what to say. I and a few others went to the Green Rooster all night café nearby but very little was said. We sat stunned, asking ourselves 'could this really have happened?'"

Ronnie Delany (Olympic athlete)

"I was parking the car outside our home in Foxrock when my wife ran out to tell me Kennedy was assassinated. I walked in and on the television was some symbol of death, it could have been a crucifix, and funeral-type music. Even as I looked at it I still couldn't believe what I was being told.

"I'd been based in America from 1954 to '60 and so was familiar with his progress. I was part of the Kennedy euphoria.

"I actually ran in front of huge crowds in the Boston gardens on many occasions and he may well have watched me win there. I prayed for him that day but kept asking myself 'why the hell would they kill him?'"

Geraldine Plunkett (Actress)

"I was just getting ready to go on stage at the Queens Theatre on Pearse Street when someone ran in to tell us he'd been shot. It was such shocking news, just a few months earlier I and my husband Peader had been standing just yards from him outside Trinity College.

"I remember being on stage and hearing the crowd laughing and thinking to myself 'surely they can't know about what happened to President Kennedy'."

John Bowman (Historian, author and broadcaster)

"I was a student in Trinity at the time but also worked as a freelance broadcaster with Radio éireann. I heard the news of the assassination attempt on Kennedy and had tuned in to various news sources to keep up with the story.

"His death was confirmed on RTé television. I immediately went to Dublin city centre to record the public's response. In some cases, it was I who informed the interviewee that Kennedy had died. Some had heard he'd been shot, but not everybody yet knew that his wounds had proved fatal.

"The vox pop was used by Seán Mac Réamoinn on a special programme to mark Kennedy's life on Radio éireann.

"Looking back on it now, I believe that President Kennedy's death made an even greater impact on the Irish public because of the extraordinary access they had enjoyed through the televising of all his public engagements during his Irish visit some few months before.

"RTÉ television had not been on air when he was inaugurated in January 1961. And It was the televised coverage in June 1963 that established him as the most popular political figure in the country. Compared to Irish political leaders, he was youthful and dynamic – and he understood how to deliver a speech for television. The Irish public were enthralled by his charisma."

Alan Dukes (Former FG leader)

"I'd just come out of a meeting of the committee of Dáil na nÓg in an office on Wicklow Street when someone came up to me to tell me what had happened.

"It was about 8pm, so while the news had broken earlier we didn't know about it until then.

"A passer-by told me. I was in the company of my future wife and two or three others. We were all shocked and incredulous. The only shock that came anywhere near it was the one I got on 9/11."

Mick O'Dwyer (GAA legend)

"I was out doing a bit of fishing on my boat and it was when I was approaching shore again at Derrynane, near Cahersiveen, that I heard the radio coming out of a car parked on the water front.

"I didn't take too much notice at first but then I heard the man on it say 'President Kennedy has been shot' and I recall just being frozen in shock.

"There was a great feeling in places like Kerry that he was one of us and I just couldn't make sense of the news coming from America that afternoon."

Irish Independent

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