New Ross, August 1st 2012: Details of the inaugural Kennedy Summer School, a festival of Irish American history and politics, have been announced. This unique event will take place in New Ross, Co. Wexford from September 6th – 8th 2012, as a precursor to the 50th anniversary in 2013 of John F Kennedy’s iconic visit to New Ross. The official programme was presented to Dr. Tim P. Shriver, nephew of President John F Kennedy, by Seán Connick of the John F. Kennedy Trust.

Run in association with the John F. Kennedy Trust in New Ross, the inaugural event will highlight the strength of political, historical and cultural links between Ireland and America through a series of presentations and discussions. Two and a half days of stimulating debate, informative reflections and varied entertainment will showcase the unique Irish American experience in a location steeped in historical relevance. The event is supported by Fáilte Ireland and Wexford Local Development.

Prominent Irish participants confirmed for the Kennedy Summer School include broadcaster John Bowman; former Irish Times Editor Geraldine Kennedy, author John Waters; former politician Mary O’Rourke; blogger Áine Kerr; Amnesty International’s Colm O’Gorman; columnist Fergus Finlay; Wexford businessman Liam Griffe and former rugby international Keith Wood. The American speakers confirmed include Tad Devine who was senior strategist to both the John Kerry and Al Gore Campaigns; Sean McGraw, assistant Professor of Politics at Notre Dame University and Dr. Howard Keeley Director of Georgia Southern University Centre for Irish Studies.

The Summer School will attract guests and members of the public from across Ireland and the US, with a variety of elements designed to attract all with an interest in Irish American links. “Wexford Voices”, to be held at St. Michael’s Theatre, New Ross, will feature contributions from an esteemed panel of speakers on the theme of Ireland, Irish America and the Kennedy Legacy, to be followed by a musical performance.

“The Kennedy Civil Rights Legacy – Lessons for Ireland” will feature topical discussions on civil rights developments since JFK’s presidency. On Saturday 8th September there will be a special tribute night: “Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s Special Legacy”. “What if Kennedy Had Lived?” is an award-winning one-man play which will be performed by American writer and actor Dennis McAndrews.

The Kennedy Summer School will build on the special links between New Ross and John F. Kennedy and the extended Kennedy family. President Kennedy’s great grandfather was born in nearby Dunganstown, and the then President visited this homestead in 1963. His tour on that occasion also included an historic public address at New Ross quayside. The 2012 event will set the stage for a more extensive Kennedy Summer School event in 2013, which will be a central component in a programme of activities to mark the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s historic Irish visit.

Tickets to event are limited and now on sale from An early-bird season ticket price of €49 is available until 21st August, with a special price ticket of €99 also available for all events and the Summer School. Information on a range of accommodation options is also available from the website.

The director of the inaugural Kennedy Summer School is the barrister and political commentator Noel Whelan.


For further information please contact Limelight Communications on (01) 668 0600.

Note to Editor:

The John F. Kennedy Trust is a charitable trust founded in 1988 to support the social, economic and tourist development of New Ross town and the surrounding area and to commemorate the historic legacy of the Kennedy family. The trust is currently involved in a number of projects in New Ross, most prominently the replica Dunbrody Famine Ship moored at New Ross’s south quay and the recently expanded Emigration History visitor centre also at New Ross south quay.

This visitor centre also houses the Irish America Hall of Fame. The Irish America Hall of Fame was founded by Irish America magazine in November 2010 and recognises extraordinary figures in the Irish American community who have had a profound effect on the Irish in America and strengthened the bonds between the United States and Ireland.