Thursday 18 January 2018

Robert Schmuhl: From Berlin to the old homestead: why JFK's historic trip wasn't just Blarney

Lucyann and Eanna Grennan at the launch of two JFK stamps in New Ross to mark the 50th anniversary of the president’s visit
Lucyann and Eanna Grennan at the launch of two JFK stamps in New Ross to mark the 50th anniversary of the president’s visit

WhEN John F Kennedy arrived in Ireland 50 years ago, the whole world was watching. Just hours before he landed in Dublin on June 26, 1963, the American president delivered what's considered his boldest and best speech on foreign soil.

Addressing a crowd estimated at 150,000 in Berlin, with its two-year-old wall a stark symbol of Cold War divisions, the free world's young leader got personal in words that soared.

"All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words 'Ich bin ein Berliner'."

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