Northern Ireland

Previously unseen footage of JFK's visit to Co Wexford to be shown in public for first time

A still from footage of President John F Kennedy's 1963 visit to New Ross
A still from footage of President John F Kennedy's 1963 visit to New Ross

NEVER-before-seen footage of US President John F Kennedy during a visit to Ireland in the 1960s is to be shown in public for the first time next month.

The 20-minute colour clips will be screened in New Ross, Co Wexford on September 2 as part of the annual Kennedy Summer School.

The footage was captured by Peggy Walsh (98), then a keen amateur filmmaker, and shows the late president's visit to his ancestral home in June 1963.

It will be donated to the Kennedy Book and Research Archive at New Ross Library, along with other films shot by Ms Walsh.

The Kennedy family traces its roots back to Dunganstown in Co Wexford from where Patrick Kennedy, JFK's great-grandfather, emigrated in 1848 during the Great Famine.

Chair of the summer school Willie Keilthy said: "Back in the late 1950s and 1960s collecting such footage was limited to the standard film camera or the Super 8 movie camera, with sometimes waiting weeks to have them developed and then only available to a few.

"Fortunately, Peggy Walsh was a keen photographer and videographer and back in the day made lots of short movies capturing the most important events of the day in New Ross including the visit of President Kennedy to the town, the last days of the New Ross-Dublin train service, play at New Ross Golf Club and many others."

Elsewhere, the annual festival celebrating Irish and American history, culture, and politics will feature more than 30 guest speakers, participating in debates on a wide range of subjects.

Among those taking part in events over three days from September 2-4 will be Professor Luke O’Neill, former US special envoy Mick Mulvaney and Alliance deputy leader Stephen Farry.