Lemass Tapes: JFK’s joke to the Dáil was erased from the record

The US president’s visit to Ireland was a ‘tremendous success’ – except for one part

John F Kennedy in the Dáil during his visit to Ireland 1963: a joke he made fell flat with president Éamon De Valera.

John F Kennedy in the Dáil during his visit to Ireland 1963: a joke he made fell flat with president Éamon De Valera.

President John F Kennedy’s visit to Ireland in June 1963 just months before his assassination offered Sean Lemass the opportunity to put forward an image of a new Ireland to the world.

“I think Kennedy’s coming to Ireland was a tremendous success,” he remembered. “National prestige was enhanced, morale was raised and we gained in international influence by reason of the fact that he came here.”

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