When Jackie Kennedy came to Shannon

Cllr Pat Kennedy, third from left, meets Jacqueline Kennedy and her children Caroline and John F Kennedy Junior at Shannon Airport in 1967
JACKIE Kennedy Onassis may not have accompanied JFK on his historic visit to Limerick and Shannon 50 years ago.

JACKIE Kennedy Onassis may not have accompanied JFK on his historic visit to Limerick and Shannon 50 years ago.

But the former First Lady did make it to the Mid-West four years later, Cllr Pat Kennedy recalled this week.

She was accompanied by her children Caroline - a recent visitor to Bruff - and John Junior and both Kennedy clans are pictured here at Shannon, one of a collection of images Cllr Kennedy has submitted for the American Embassy’s JFK Homecoming project. Jackie and family returning to the United States in June 1967, having enjoyed a holiday in Waterford.

In her speech at Greenpark in 1963, Mayor Frances Condell had asked JFK to convey the best wishes of the mothers of Limerick to his wife, who was heavily pregnant at the time and couldn’t travel. A christening gown of Limerick lace was given to the president as a gift. The child, Patrick, was born prematurely in August and only lived for two days.

Cllr Kennedy- although no relation himself - was also at Greenpark among JFK’s Limerick relatives and other local connections and was actually mentioned in Mayor Condell’s speech.

“As a matter of fact, there is only one Kennedy amongst them, a man called Pádraig Ó Cinnéide, who has actually written a history, an American history, who has quoted and forecasted many years ago that you would become the President of the United States,” Mayor Condell said.

Cllr Kennedy said he had been awarded a gold medal in history from the Minister for Education for this early work.

By the time Jackie Kennedy did make it to Ireland in 1967, Cllr Kennedy had been elected an alderman on to Limerick City Council, where he has remained to this day.

That was also the year in which Frances Condell retired from the Limerick political scene on health grounds.

Caroline Kennedy was only nine years old in the photograph above. She returned to County Limerick last month with JFK’s three grandchildren Rose, Tatiana and Jack Schlossberg.