President Higgins to be guest at JFK Memorial Park 50th Anniversary Dinner

30 July 18

The Office of Public Works has announced that President Michael D Higgins will be the guest of honour and keynote speaker at a special dinner to mark the 50th Anniversary year of the JFK Memorial Park and Arboretum at New Ross on Saturday 8th September next. The special dinner will also mark the end of this year’s Kennedy Summer School.

President Eamonn De Valera officially opened the JFK Memorial Park and Arboretum near New Ross in May 1968. To mark this 50th anniversary year, the Office of Public Works will present a day of unique tours, talks, workshops and special events at the park on Saturday 8th September next.

The day will conclude with the gala dinner at the JFK Memorial Park & Arboretum Marquee to celebrate this important milestone for the arboretum and to mark the close of the 2018 summer school. The dinner will be preceded by a formal tree planting and the launch of a new commissioned guide for the Arboretum.

Commenting on the announcement Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, Minister for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief said, "We are delighted to partner with the JFK Summer School to celebrate such a significant milestone for the JFK Memorial Park and Arboretum. We are honoured that President Michael D Higgins can join us at what promises to be a wonderful conclusion to a thought provoking and stimulating few days”.

Welcoming the announcement of the President’s visit Mr William Keilthy, Chair of the Kennedy Summer School said "The Kennedy Summer School has grown from strength to strength each year and it is indeed a great honour on the occasion of our sixth annual summer school weekend to have the President of Ireland participating in our closing event. It will be a wonderful occasion to mark the 50th Anniversary of JFK Memorial Park and Arboretum and a great testament to the work of all who are involved in re-enforcing links between the Kennedy family heritage and the local area. President Higgins will get a very warm New Ross welcome."


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The JFK Memorial Park and Arboretum is dedicated to the memory of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.  The Arboretum is a tree collection of international standing. President Kennedy’s visit to Ireland in June 1963 was a pivotal moment in Irish history and one that ignited the spirit of the nation. Following the death of John F. Kennedy, on 22nd November 1963, a number of Irish-American societies wished to establish a memorial forest as a living tribute to him in Ireland. The Irish government suggested this take the form of a national arboretum. The Arboretum was opened formally by President de Valera on 29th May 1968. Up to 100 thousand visitors visit the Arboretum each year.

2018 Kennedy Summer School

More than 40 guest speakers will participate 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 featuring prominently from September 6th to 8th at the 2018 Kennedy Summer School in New Ross, County Wexford.

Highlights of the 3-day festival of politics and culture include an audience with American human rights activist and daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, Kerry Kennedy; American Presidential campaign strategist for John McCain, John Kasich and of and George H.W Bush, Mr. John Weaver, a sit down interview with Miriam O’Callaghan; the Kennedy Speaker’s Lunch’ will see EU Commissioner Phil Hogan give his update take on Brexit; Gerard Doherty former Chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party will present his book “They were friends of mine, Bobby, Jack and Ted” to the John F. Kennedy Book and Research Archive at New Ross Library along with a number of Politicians, News correspondents and leading global academics who will all join in the discussions billed for the annual Kennedy Summer School and a special screening of  Greg Barker’s fly-on-the-wall documentary about Barrack Obama’s final year in office will take place, followed by a skype interview with Samantha Power the former US Ambassador to the United Nations.

For further details of the 2018 Kennedy Summer School Programme and tickets see or call St. Michael’s Theatre on 051 421 255.