Saturday 17 March 2018

Kennedy's US 'Eternal Flame' will light new monument here

Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

IT has burned brightly at JFK's grave for more than 45 years.

Now the fire from the former American president's 'Eternal Flame' monument at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, will make its way to his ancestral home.

It will ignite a new 'Emigrant Flame' monument in New Ross and it is the first time that permission has been granted to take a flame from JFK's gravesite.

The monument in New Ross will form the central attraction of the JFK50 festival.

The event, which will take place on June 22, has been organised to celebrate the 50th anniversary of John F Kennedy's 1963 visit to the Co Wexford town. His great grandfather, Patrick, left New Ross in 1848, during the Great Famine.

The flame will be taken ashore from the LE Orla and presented to Taoiseach Enda Kenny by former ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, JFK's sister.

Bullfinch, whose engineers developed the burning system for the London 2012 Olympic torch, created the burner to carry the flame across the Atlantic.

Organisers have estimated that around 20,000 people will turn out for the event.

It will also feature the largest ever gathering of the Kennedy clan, with 30 members of the family due to descend upon their ancestral hometown.

Eamonn Hore, New Ross town manager, said that during his visit JFK promised he would return in spring and called Ireland the land for which he held the greatest affection.

"During his visit the president enjoyed the warmth and hospitality of the Irish and rekindled his familial ties to his ancestral homestead here in New Ross," he said.

"Tragically, President Kennedy's life was cut short and he was not allowed to fulfil his wish to return," he added.

Irish Independent

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