Visits New Ross
By Irish America Staff
September / October 2018
Fans of Ireland, the U.S., and international politics descended upon the ancestral hometown of President John F. Kennedy, New Ross in County Wexford on September 6, as American human rights activist and daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, Kerry Kennedy, officially opened the sixth annual Kennedy Summer School, and was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame.
The Irish America Hall of Fame was founded in 2010 by this magazine in conjunction with the Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience, and Kennedy made a point of visiting the ship, which is an exact replica of an actual sailing ship of the same name that ferried thousands of Irish from the port of New Ross to the New World in the 1840s.
In 1849 Patrick Kennedy left New Ross for Boston. The Kennedy Homestead is based in Dunganstown, just a few miles away. 112 years after Patrick’s departure, his great-grandson John Fitzgerald Kennedy was elected president of the United States.
The Kennedy Summer school, which was started just six years ago, has already gained an international reputation. More than 40 guest speakers, including Irish America’s Hall of Famer, historian Christine Kinealy, participated in debates on a wide range of subjects with current U.S. politics, the final phase of Brexit negotiations, and the recent referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment at the Summer School, which ran from September 6-8.
Highlights included audiences with American presidential campaign strategist for the late John McCain, John Kasich, and a special screening of Greg Barker’s fly-on-the-wall documentary about Barack Obama’s final year in office, which was followed by a Skype interview with Samantha Power, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
Events closed with a special event to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the John F. Kennedy Arboretum and Memorial Park with President Higgins. The Kennedy Summer School and Festival is run in association with the John F. Kennedy Trust, New Ross and Wexford County Council. For further details see kennedysummerschool.ie ♦