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Caroline Kennedy marks 50th anniversary of JFK's 1963 visit to Ireland

June 24, 2013 at 11:10 PM   |   Comments

NEW ROSS, Ireland, June 24 (UPI) -- Ireland has been celebrating the 50th anniversary of U.S. President John F. Kennedy's 1963 visit with events featuring his daughter and members of the clan.

Caroline Kennedy and her aunt Jean Kennedy Smith lit an eternal flame Saturday in New Ross, the County Wexford town her great-great-grandfather left in 1848. The flame was brought from the one on her father's grave in Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington.

She also spoke at the Kennedy's ancestral farm in Dunganstown.

On Monday, Caroline Kennedy, accompanied by her husband, Edwin Schlossberg, and their three children, visited Bruff in County Limerick, RTE reported. The ancestors of President Kennedy's maternal grandfather, Boston Mayor John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, hailed from Bruff.

Douglas Kennedy, youngest son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, spent Monday in Galway, commemorating the president's stop there in 1963. Among those welcoming him to the city was Breda Ryan, whose late husband, Pat, was the mayor who welcomed the president to Galway.

A column in The Irish Times compared the entertainment in New Ross this time to the school choir and local band who performed for President Kennedy in 1963. The speakers this time included Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney and celebrated Irish-American dancer Michael Flatley, while U.S. folk singer Judy Collins and a U.S. gospel group, the American Spiritual Ensemble, performed.

Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, another member of Robert Kennedy's large family, got so excited by the gospel music she jumped up and urged everyone in the audience to join in, the Times said.

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