Monday 19 March 2018

Robert Schmuhl: Mysterious leaders Parnell and Kennedy continue to charm us

John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
Charles Stewart Parnell

Historical parallels can often illuminate the past and present, and this year's Parnell Summer School, beginning August 11, offers dual and trans-Atlantic perspectives on two political figures who continue to cast sizable shadows across prior times and inspire contemporary interpretation.

Though their public careers are separated by eight decades and 3,000 miles, Charles Stewart Parnell and John Fitzgerald Kennedy share intersecting similarities that make their joint consideration the central focus of the six-day school at the Parnell estate of Avondale in Co Wicklow.

Both Parnell and Kennedy had familial roots that proved critical to their self-images and to their careers. Parnell's mother was an American, while Kennedy's great-grandparents all hailed from Ireland.

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