27 June-President John F Kennedy visits Ireland

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States of America, paid an official visit to Ireland in 1963. He was the first serving US President to visit Ireland. Before visiting Ireland President Kennedy has visited Berlin where he delivered his ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ speech. The President spent four days in Ireland and huge crowds greeted him everywhere he went. During his visit he became the first foreign leader to address the Houses of the Oireachtas.

The visit by President Kennedy to Ireland in 1963 was his sixth time to visit the country of his ancestors. His first visit was in 1939. On that occasion he came on behalf of his father to help with the arrangements for American survivors of the sinking of the SS Athenia. The ship had been sunk by a German submarine U-30 near Tory Island on September 3rd 1939. Many of those rescued were brought ashore in Galway. Kennedy later took a flight home from Foynes to New York.

When he visited Ireland in 1963 President Kennedy was on a presidential tour of Europe. He arrived at Dublin Airport from Berlin on board Air Force One on June 26th 1963. Following meetings with the Irish President and An Taoiseach, President Kennedy travelled by motorcade to Dublin City centre. Along the route he was greeted by large enthusiastic flag waving crowds.

The following day he travelled by helicopter to the County Wexford. There he visited the home of his great grandfather Patrick Kennedy in Dunganstown near New Ross. His ancestor had emigrated to Boston in the 19th century. Kennedy had visited Dunganstown on one of his previous visits to Ireland in 1947. In Dunganstown, on this occasion, the President met with members of his extended Irish family at the Kennedy homestead and enjoyed tea and refreshments.

Afterwards President Kennedy delivered a speech in New Ross to a huge crowd. In the speech the President joked that he could have been working for a local business had his ancestor not emigrated. The speech he delivered on that day in New Ross can be read on a plaque on Charles Street Dock in the town beside a bronze sculpture of the President. During his visit The President mingled with the people and even joined with a children’s choir to sing ‘The Boys of Wexford’. He later visited the town of Wexford where he laid a wreath at the statue of Joh Barry, Commander of the American Navy.

During his visit to Ireland, President Kennedy also visited Cork, Galway and Limerick before departing from Shannon Airport, for a visit to England, on June 29th 1963. Five months after his visit to Ireland President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas Texas.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, President of the United States of America, visited Dunganstown County Wexford in the year 1963 On This Day.

President Kennedy claps as his four-year-old daughter Caroline and son John F. Kennedy Jr by thesmuggler- Night of the Swallow” on 2003-06-01 00:00:00

Patrick Kennedy, New Ross, Ireland by OpenPlaques on 2012-08-27 00:50:47


01 April-Carlow Railways

Carlow Railway Station, which serves Carlow in the southeast of Ireland, is a station on the Dublin to Waterford intercity route. It is one of just two railway stations still operational in County Carlow. The station which has become increasingly important for commuters has served the people of Carlow for almost 170 years.

Carlow railway station, which was designed by Sir John Benjamin Macneill was originally designed as a terminus. The buildings are constructed of yellow brick and have offices and waiting areas. William Dargan from Killeshin near Carlow town, who built over 1,300km of railway lines in Ireland, was the engineer for the railway line to Carlow. The first train from Dublin arrived at Carlow town railway station on August 4th 1846.

Over the following decades the rail network in County Carlow was gradually expanded. The line to Carlow was extended southwards and a station was opened in Bagnalstown on July 24th 1848. There was an intermediate station at Milford about 6km south of Carlow town. Bagnalstown Station was renamed Bagenalstown Station in 1910. The name was changed to Muine Bheag Station in 1988.

It was decided in 1854 to construct a railway from Bagnalstown to Borris in south County Carlow. Carlow MP, Arthur MacMurrough Kavanagh, was a strong supporter of the project and the station in Borris was opened on December 11th 1858. There was an intermediate station at Ballyellen.

The town of Tullow was now the only urban centre in Carlow without a train service. The town was eventually connected to the rail network when the railway line was extended from Baltinglass to Tullow. Tullow railway station opened on June 1st 1886. There was an intermediate stop at Rathvilly.

By the late 1800’s there were seven railway stations in County Carlow. However, as road transport developed, passenger numbers and goods using the railways began to decline and railway stations were closed down.   The railway station at Tullow was shut down on June 15th 1959 and other stations were subsequently closed. Today there are just two railway stations in County Carlow, Carlow town and Muine Bheag.

Borris railway station in south County Carlow was closed in the year 1963 On This Day.

March 23, 1963 by National Library of Ireland on The Commons on 1963-03-23 16:53:37

Borris Viaduct, Borris, County Carlow by David Bergin Photography on 2015-03-31 16:19:53