Jacqueline Kennedy’s 1964 letter to the President of Eire


President John F. Kennedy’s tragic assassination on November 22, 1963, occurred simply 5 months after his historic go to to Eire.

Kennedy, the great-grandson of Irish immigrants, relished his Irish heritage and in June 1963, he turned the primary incumbent US President to make an official go to to Eire. His four-day journey included stops in Dublin, Wexford, Cork, Galway, and Limerick, all of which he was warmly acquired at.

“This isn’t the land of my start however it’s the land for which I maintain the best affection,” President Kennedy mentioned whereas in Co Limerick.

President John F. Kennedy in Co Wexford. (Getty Images)

President John F. Kennedy in Co Wexford. (Getty Photographs)

Throughout his Irish go to, President Kennedy met with President de Valera; the 2 presidential households developed an in depth relationship. Simply 5 months after the historic Irish go to, President de Valera was in attendance for President Kennedy’s state funeral in Washington, DC on November 25, 1963.

Kennedy’s affection for Eire was palpable, as evidenced under in First Woman Jacqueline Kennedy’s handwritten letter to President of Eire Eamon de Valera in January 1964. Within the letter, she thanks the President and the folks of Eire for his or her sympathies, and places into phrases her late husband’s love of Eire.

IrishCentral is delighted to share right here the historic letter, which is featured in “The Presidents’ Letters: An Surprising Historical past of Eire” from Irish journalist Flor MacCarthy. “The President’s Letters” is the July 2022 choice for the IrishCentral Ebook Membership.

The next letter is reproduced by sort permission of UCD-OFM Partnership.

Jacqueline Kennedy’s letter to President of Eire Eamon de Valera, dated January 22, 1964

Expensive Mr. President

I do want to thanks with all my coronary heart – for coming to my husband’s funeral – and for bringing with you the Irish Cadets – who had moved him so just a few months earlier than in Eire – and who then moved the world at his grave.

I’m solely grateful for one factor in these unhappy days – that he did have the possibility to return to Eire as President of the USA final summer time. That journey meant extra to him than every other in his life – he referred to as me each evening of it and would inform me all that had handed within the day.

He would have by no means been President had he not been Irish. All the historical past of your folks is a protracted one in every of overcoming obstacles. He felt that burden on him as a younger Irishman in Boston – and he had so many obstacles in his path – his faith, his well being, his youth. He fought towards every from the time he was a boy, and by at all times striving, he ended as President –

He was so acutely aware of his heritage – and so pleased with it – and Eire could be proud that they gave the USA its best President. Now these phrases might sound the phrases of a bereaved spouse – however in a technology that’s what they are going to be instructing to high school youngsters. 

I do know your nation mourned him as a lot as his personal nation did – and thru you I thanks for that – 

I’ll deliver up my youngsters to be as pleased with being Irish as he was. Already our home is known as Wexford – they usually play with these stunning animals – the Connemara pony and the deer. At any time when they see something stunning or good they are saying ‘that have to be Irish’ – and when they’re sufficiently old I’ll deliver them there.

Please thank Mrs de Valera for me for her most touching letter which you gave me. She taught him poetry – which he remembered and sometimes mentioned to me – and tried to show his daughter – All essentially the most shifting issues I’ve examine his demise have been Irish poetry – ‘Who to console us now, Sean of the Gael’ – and so many others.

I ship to you and to Mrs de Valera – two playing cards – one was how he seemed throughout the marketing campaign, the youngest one – and the opposite as President. The way it aged him in lower than three years.

I do know we had been all so blessed to have him so long as we did – however I’ll by no means perceive why God needed to take him now – 

I ship you my deepest gratitude – 


Jacqueline Kennedy

*Reproduced by sort permission of UCD-OFM Partnership.

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