Kennedys to mark JFK’s Galway visit in late change

Douglas Kennedy to be welcomed at special ceremony marking 50th anniversary of visit

The eternal flame from John F Kennedy’s grave is delivered by Jean Kennedy Smith and Taoiseach Enda Kenny to the port of New Ross in Co Wexford on Saturday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The eternal flame from John F Kennedy’s grave is delivered by Jean Kennedy Smith and Taoiseach Enda Kenny to the port of New Ross in Co Wexford on Saturday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

Members of the Kennedy family have made a last-minute change to their travel plans to commemorate one of the most memorable moments from the JFK visit to Ireland 50 years ago.

Galway City Council confirmed Douglas Kennedy, the youngest of 10 children of the late Bobby Kennedy, will travel with his wife, children and members of the travelling party and would be welcomed to a special ceremony at Kennedy Park today.

The arrival in Galway city and the late US president John F Kennedy’s speech in Eyre Square are iconic memories from the historic trip and plans were made five years ago to commemorate the events in Galway of June 29th, 1963. Mr Kennedy spent a couple of hours in Galway before travelling on to Shannon to fly out of the country.

A motion was unanimously passed by Galway City Council in 2008 to formally mark the visit.

But nothing happened until last November when the Mayor of Galway, Cllr Terry O’Flaherty sought to make arrangements to have a member of the Kennedy family visit Galway to mark the occasion.

The Mayor and City Council contacted the US Embassy, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Tourism Ireland and the Dunbrody Trust, which organised the New Ross commemorations.

Despite extensive contact on both sides of the Atlantic, up to yesterday it appeared that Galway would lose out in its efforts to mark, in particular, the late president’s speech about emigration and the Galway-Boston connection on June 29th, 1963.

Cllr O’Flaherty, who had led the repeated efforts over the last eight months to ensure that the visit would be formally marked in Galway, will today preside over the final function of her term of office by welcoming a member of the Kennedy family to Galway for the commemoration.

A spokesman for Galway City Council said: “We are delighted to have received confirmation that Douglas Kennedy and his family will be arriving in Galway and we will remember the events of 50 years ago at the JFK memorial in the city centre”.

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