President John F. Kennedy Plans a Pleasure Trip to His Ancestral Home, Ireland

April 23, 1963

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President John F. Kennedy Plans a Pleasure Trip to His Ancestral Home, Ireland
Typed Letter Signed
1 page | SMC 341

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      Background

      His great-grandfather, Patrick Kennedy, had come from Ireland during the great potato famine in the late 1840s, and his great-grandfather on his mother’s side, Thomas Fitzgerald, came over from Ireland in 1854, when the famine drove him to America, too. Now, on June 26, 1963, fresh from his foreign policy triumph in Berlin – “Ich bin ein Berliner” he’d proclaimed to a million people gathered in front of City Hall – he went back, the first Irish-American President, the first Catholic President, the first sitting President ever to visit Ireland. He gave a speech before the Irish Parliament, but mostly, he was there for pleasure. He visited cousins; traveled to his ancestral homestead; went to the quay from which his forbears sailed. “He’s getting so Irish,” top aide Kenny O’Donnell quipped, “the next thing you know he’ll be speaking with a brogue.”
       
      In this letter to an old friend from the Old Country, Kennedy announces his trip, and assures Dot Tubridy she’ll be a part of it. "Ken O'Donnell and several others will be over there early in May to advance the trip to Ireland and I have told them to be in touch with you,” he says. “We plan to arrive in Ireland on Wednesday, June 26th, and stay until at least Friday. I hope it can be made as pleasant as possible and not a lot of heavy activities. You may be sure that you will be featured prominently in all Presidential functions.”
       
      The trip, he said afterward, was the three happiest days of his life.


      Typed Letter Signed (twice: in full and as “Jack”), as President, 1 page, quarto, The White House, April 23, 1963. To Dot Tubridy in Dublin.
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      THE WHITE HOUSE
      WASHINGTON

      April 23, 1963

      Dear Dot :

      Many thanks for your letter.

      Ken O'Donnell and several others will be over there early in May to advance the trip to Ireland and I have told them to be in touch with you.

      As things stand now, we plan to arrive in Ireland on Wednesday, June 26th, and stay until at least late Friday. I hope it can be made as pleasant as possible and not a lot of heavy activities. You may be sure that you will be featured prominently in all Presidential functions.

      Best regards.

      Sincerely,

      John Kennedy [in autograph]

      Dot Tubridy
      39 Terence Road, East
      Dublin 6, Ireland

       
      Keep in touch with me on this.
       
      Jack

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      Page 2 transcript
      THE WHITE HOUSE

      AIR MAIL

      Dot Tubridy
      39 Terence Road, East
      Dublin 6, Ireland