Memories of John F Kennedy’s Irish visit shared

New website will digitalise memorabilia from famous visit 50 years later


The public was yesterday invited to bring memorabilia from John F Kennedy’s visit to Ireland 50 years ago to the National Library of Ireland. The materialis to be digitized and uploaded to a new commemorative website.

For Susanne Dockrell (76), the day of Kennedy’s arrival in Dublin was special for many reasons – chiefly for having met her husband in the crowd after taking photographs of the president from the top of Trinity College Dublin.

Originally from Berlin in Germany, she was in Ireland as a student on an exchange programme. “Afterwards, I had wanted to go home on my bicycle but it was impossible to get through the crowds. I got as far as the Goethe Institut on Merrion Square where I met this young man and we began talking. Two years later we were married.”

Donal Matthews (38) from Blackrock, Co Louth, brought memorabilia with romantic connotations of a different sort. A large flag bearing the Irish and American colours, Kennedy’s face, and the words “Céad Míle Fáilte” had exchanged hands between an Irishwoman and a member of Kennedy’s Secret Service detail after a brief encounter during the visit.

The memorabilia and stories can be found on the website at