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 Kennedy Homestead

The birthplace of President John.F.Kennedy's great- grandfather is about
6km from New Ross.  It's in Dunganstown which is in our Parish of Horeswood. He would have gone to mass in St. Brigid's Church,Ballykelly. Patrick Kennedy was born here in 1823. He worked as a cooper in Cherry's Brewery, New Ross. A cooper makes barrels. He decided to emigrate to America when he was 25 years old. His father was a tenant farmer and could be evicted for not paying the rent. Times were hard because of the famine in Ireland. Patrick left in 1848. He first went to Liverpool and then to Boston on a ship called the S.S.Washington Irving.
   He met Bridget Murphy from Gusserane and they married. They lived in a place called Noodle Island.They lived in a tenement. They had three daughters and a son called Patrick Joseph or P.J. Patrick died in 1858 from cholera. 
He was only 35 years old. Bridget was a strong woman. She worked as a house-maid for the rich, and then in a grocery store. Later she became the owner of this shop. She helped P.J. to become the owner of two saloons. He married Mary Hickey and he became very wealthy. They had a son called Joseph who also became very rich. He married Rose Fiztgerald and became ambassador to the U.K. Their son John.F. Kennedy became President of the U.S. in 1961. He was the first Catholic and youngest President of America.

Cherry's Brewery, Creywell, New Ross, where Patrick Kennedy worked as a cooper before emigrating to Boston. It no longer stands here.

Young Patrick Joseph or P.J.Kennedy -the President's grandfather

President John F.Kennedy.

Homestead to-day

The Kennedy homestead is a one-storey house.The only bit that is left of the house is the stables. The cow house was rebuilt and is now used as a gift shop and where they show the audio-video. Patrick Grennan,a cousin of JFK, is the owner and tour guide.
The beds were very simple with an iron frame . There were no blankets but  heavy overcoats were thrown on the bed to give more heat. To heat up the bed they used a cylinder shaped porcelain hot water bottle. As there was no running water they used a chamber pot which was up in the bedroom.

What the bedroom looked like.

During the day they used a dry toilet in a little building usually away from the dwelling house. Washing was done in a basin and sometimes in a bath in
 front of the fire.

President Kennedy's visit on June 27th 1963

 On June 27th 1963 President Kennedy and his family came back to his ancestral home. For this event a red phone was placed behind the stables. If he lifted this phone it meant that a nuclear war was starting .When he got there he said, "We drink a cup of tea for the Kennedys who left and the Kennedys who stayed".He also said to Mrs.Ryan that he
"would come back again when there was not such a big crowd."
The old house of Patrick Kennedy is now a two-storey house with a porch. This porch was built on to use for toilets during the President's visit. His final farewell to Ireland was "I will come back in the Spring." He never made that journey back to Ireland because he was  shot at around 12.30p.m in Dallas,Texas on November 22nd 1963.
 It was exactly 105 years to the day that his great-grand father,Patrick Kennedy from Dunganstown, passed away-the man who started the Kennedy dynasty.

President Kennedy's visit to Dunganstown June 27, 1963

Ballykelly school children with the Tri - colour and American Flag line up before marching to Dunganstown and provide a guard of honour for his visit.

JFK meets the school children from Ballykelly NS.

This is a copy of the original photograph taken by JFK when he made another visit to the homestead as a Congressman in 1947.

Colour picture of the Kennedy family in Dunganstown

Left: The President's cousin from Dunganstown, Josie Ryan, attends mass for the president who was shot on 22 Nov. 1963 in Dallas. On right is what the paper said about his cousins in Dunganstown on hearing of his death.

Ted Kennedy with Maggie Whitty and cousin Jim Kennedy in 1962

On the front wall of the homestead today is a plaque ,which was unveiled in 1993 by Ambassador Smith. It has this written on it "Birthplace of Patrick Kennedy, Great Grandfather of President John .F.Kennedy U.S.A who returned to his ancestral home on 27th June, 1963." The Kennedy Homestead is well worth a visit as Patrick Grennan is very friendly and gives a fantastic guided tour.
This fine life-sized bronze sculpture of John F.Kennedy at the quay in New Ross, was unveiled by his sister, Jean Kennedy Smith on June 29, 2008. The sculpture was designed by Ann Meldon Hugh and includes extracts from some of Kennedy's famous speeches, busts of his cousins in Wexford, and depicts the homestead in Dunganstown and the White House.

Memorial Plaque

The three of us busy at work at the Kennedy Homestead

by Grace MacD., Bríd B., and Jane C., in Mr. Crowley's Fifth Class 2002

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