Launch of special archive to celebrate centenary of JFK's birth at Kennedy Summer School
Ireland has marked the centenary of the birth of John F Kennedy with a special archive which aims to become one of the world's greatest research libraries on the 35th President of the United States.
The Kennedy Summer School opened in New Ross, Co Wexford tonight with the formal launch of the new Kennedy Archive which also celebrates the famous US family's Irish links.
The aim is for the Wexford town to develop a renowned research library on the Massachusetts-born politician and his legacy which will be open to the public, students and academics.
A collection of books, publications, audio-visual recordings and other research materials on Presidency Kennedy's 1960-63 White House years, the Kennedy family and the link between the Kennedys and Wexford have been painstakingly gathered.
The collection will be maintained by Wexford County Library and will be expanded over coming years.
Its launch was timed to mark 100 years since the birth of President Kennedy in 1917.
The fifth annual summer school, to mark the special centenary, boasts its greatest ever line-up of speakers this year ranging from President Barack Obama's former speech writer, Cody Kennan, to Northern Ireland's Ian Paisley Jnr and from Holocaust survivor, Tomi Reichental to Children's Minister Katherine Zappone.
While Wexford has worked hard since the historic homecoming visit by President Kennedy in 1963 to honour his memory, the new archive aims to make the New Ross and Wexford areas a future study hub on his presidency.
The Kennedy Archive was formally launched by historian and author, Richard Aldous, who has written a book on Arthur Schlesinger, a close friend of the Kennedy family.
Wexford Librarian Eileen Morrissey said the new archive is a huge honour for the county.
"We are delighted to hold the New Ross Kennedy Book and Research Archive," Ms Morrissey said.
"It is a collection of wide variety and contains items of unique interest including a number of books written by John F Kennedy before taking up political office, LIFE magazine from the 1960s and other contemporary publications."
The archive will also include priceless memorabilia from President Kennedy's historic Irish visit in 1963, a trip that took place just weeks before his assassination.
"The New Ross Standard from June of 1963, during President Kennedy's official visit to Ireland, will be displayed at the launch along with other pieces of memorabilia."
Wexford County Council director of serevice, Eamon Hoare, said the archive represented another major step in New Ross celebrating its link to President Kennedy and his family.
"New Ross is further strengthening our proud heritage and links with President John F Kennedy and the Kennedy family," he said.
"This collection will be available to locals and visitors alike for viewing; it will be exciting to see the collection grow even further as additional publications and memorabilia are gathered over the years."