Thursday 23 November 2017

Arrival - JFK touches down in Dublin June 26, 7.50pm

Airforce One touches down
Airforce One touches down
The official plan for the arrival at Dublin Airport - Click to see a bigger version of the graphic
Crowds greet JFK's motorcade in Dublin
Éamon De Valera greets JFK at Dublin Airport.


Crowds start gathering at Dublin Airport for the president's arrival, with 300 gardai to provide security.


President Eamon de Valera and members of the government arrive.


JFK touches down, his plane taxiing to a stop at a minute to eight. He is accompanied by a party of 37 on his Boeing military jet, including his sisters Eunice Shriver and Jean Smith and various aides, many with Irish heritage. He is greeted by President Eamon de Valera, Taoiseach Sean Lemass and members of the Government. Members of the No 1 Army Band play the 'Star Spangled Banner', and he is greeted with a 21-gun salute.


JFK leaves the airport for the city, travelling along an eight-mile route to the US Embassy in the Phoenix Park on a sun-drenched evening, with a solid mass of people thronging the route.

He rides in an open-topped car with President De Valera, accompanied by US Secret Service agents and several garda cars.

As it passes through Lower O'Connell Street, the crowd break through and start running after his car.

Before the presidential car is a lorry carrying TV crew and press photographers, capturing every moment.


Arrives at Aras an Uachtarain.


Departs for the US Embassy, stepping out of his car to shake hands with hundreds of well-wishers on the way.



Meets Taoiseach Sean Lemass at the US Embassy


Departs by helicopter for New Ross, Co Wexford.


Arrives at O'Kennedy Park where he is greeted by local dignitaries.


The presidential party arrives on the town quays where a crowd of some 50,000 has gathered. President Kennedy is presented with gifts including an 18th century goblet, a lace hankerchief of Venetian Rose point lace for his wife and a crochet lace bag for his daughter, Caroline.

"I am glad to be here. It took 115 years to make this trip, and 6,000 miles, and three generations. But I am proud to be here and I appreciate the warm welcome you have given to all of us" he says during a speech on the town quays.


Leaves New Ross for Dunganstown, the family homestead, from where his great-grandfather Patrick Kenney had set sail for a better life in America in 1848.


Arrives Dunganstown, and is greeted by some 25 relatives, including cousins from the Kennedy, Ryan, Kirwan and Whitty families. The parish priest is also present, and President Kennedy is shown the house and served light refreshments in the farmyard.

He gives no speech but proposes a simple toast "to the Kennedys who went away and to the Kennedys who stayed behind".


Departs New Ross by helicopter for Wexford town.


Arrives in Wexford, where he is greeted by 10,000, many waving flags. A choir of 300 boys greets him singing "The Boys of Wexford", and President Kennedy leaves his bodyguards to join them in the second chorus, prompting one American photographer to burst into tears. After the singing, President Kennedy shakes hands with as many schoolchildren as he can reach.


President Kennedy gives a speech at Redmond Place.

"I want to express my pleasure at being back from whence I came," he says.


Departs Wexford for Dublin, arriving in the US Embassy at 3pm.


Leaves US Embassy for Aras an Uachtarain


Garden party at the Aras hosted by President de Valera and Bean de Valera for 2,000 guests.


Departs for US Embassy


The President leaves the embassy for a State dinner at Iveagh House. Much of St Stephen's Green is closed during the dinner, but 2,500 well-wishers gather calling "we want Kennedy" and "we want Jack".


State dinner hosted by Taoiseach and Mrs Lemass for 500 guests.


Private reception at Iveagh House.


President returns to the embassy.



Leaves US Embassy for Cork.


Arrives at Collins Barracks, Cork. The streets are closed as troops line the route from Collins Barracks to City Hall. Some 100,000 people come out to see him.

10.35am - Arrives at City Hall where he is greeted by Lord Mayor, Sean Casey TD, and receives the Freedom of the City.

11.15am – Tells dignitaries during a speech that he brings greetings from "the people of Galway, New York; Dublin, New Hampshire; the people of Killarney, West Virginia; Kilkenny, Minnesota, the people of Limerick, Maine, and the people of Shamrock, Texas."

11.30am Departs Cork for US Embassy.

1pm Hosts lunch at the embassy for the Taoiseach and President. He joins in a rendition of Danny Boy sung by eight Bunratty singers.

3pm Leaves embassy for Arbour Hill, accompanied by the Taoiseach Sean Lemass.

3.10pm The President lays a wreath at the grave of the 1916 leaders

3.23pm Departs Arbour Hill for Leinster House. En route, he has a "special wave" for 200 nurses from the Mater Hospital who formed a guard of honour as he passed.


Arrives at Leinster Lawn to address the Houses of the Oireachtas. Reception and presentation of parliamentary dignitaries followed by procession into Leinster House and signing of distinguished visitors' book.

4pm - addresses the Oireachtas


Departs Leinster House, accompanied by the Taoiseach, for ceremonies at St Patrick's Hall, Dublin Castle.


Arrives at Dublin Castle, and is greeted by President De Valera.


Conferring of honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from National University of Ireland. His father, Joseph, received the same degree while serving as US ambassador to London in the same hall in 1938.


Conferring of honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Dublin University.


Receives the Freedom of Dublin City, the 49th person to receive the honour.


President Kennedy gives a brief address.


Departs for US Embassy.


Departs embassy for Aras an Uachtarain


Dinner at the Aras, before returning to the embassy.



Departs US Embassy for Galway on his last day in Ireland.


Lands in Galway Sportsground where he is greeted by local dignitaries, taking the time to go to a group of 320 schoolgirls from the Convent of Mercy and asking them to sing 'Galway Bay'.


Arrives in Mayor's residence at Forster House, before continuing to Eyre Square where he is elected a Freeman of Galway.


The President speaks: "If the day was clear enough, and if you went down to the bay, and you looked west, and your sight was good enough, you would see Boston," he says. "And if you did, you would see down working on the docks there some Doughertys and Flahertys and Ryans and cousins of yours who have gone to Boston and made good.

I wonder if you could perhaps let me know how many of you here have a relative in America, who you would admit to - if you would hold up your hand? I don't know what it is about you that causes me to think that nearly everybody in Boston comes from Galway. They are not shy about it, at all."


Departs Eyre Square for Salthill, where his helicopter awaits.


Departs for Limerick.


Arrives Greenpark racecourse, Limerick. 200 gardai are drafted from Dublin to augment the local force. Thousands flock to the racecourse to greet the president, with gates opening from 10.30am that that morning.


President Kennedy is elected the 42nd Freeman of Limerick. In a speech, he speaks of his fondness for Ireland.

"Last night somebody sang a song, the words of which I am sure you know, of 'Come back to Erin, Mavourneen, Mavourneen, come back around to the land of thy birth. Come with the Shamrock in the springtime, Mavourneen'", he says.

"This is not the land of my birth, but it is the land for which I hold the greatest affection and I certainly will come back in the springtime."


President Kennedy departs for Shannon Airport.


The president departs Ireland for London, accompanied by gifts including a cocker spaniel pup, presented to him by his cousins, the Barrys, of Co Limerick. In his final remarks, he gives his thoughts on the trip.

"Ireland is an unusual place.

"What happened 500 or 1000 years ago is yesterday, where we on the other side of the Atlantic 3000 miles away, we are next door.

"While there may be those removed by two or three generations from Ireland, they may have left 100 years ago their people, and yet when I ask how many people may have relatives in America nearly everybody holds up their hands.

So Ireland is a very special place. It has fulfilled in the past a very special role.

"It is in a very real sense the mother of a great many people, a great many millions of people, and in a sense a great many nations.

"And what gives me the greatest satisfaction and pride, being of Irish descent, is the realisation that even today this very small island still sends thousands, literally thousands, of its sons and daughters to the ends of the globe to carry on an historic task which Ireland assumed 1400 or 1500 years ago.

"I am taking, as I go back to America, all of you with me.

"Thank you."

Irish Independent

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