From Ireland to America - Part 3: Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience

Part 1:  From Ireland to America:  Bonded Through Time and Famine

Part 2:  From Ireland to America: The Kennedy Homestead New Visitor...

It was a big year for New Ross, County Wexford.  In June the new visitor center opened at the Kennedy Homestead in Dungannon kicking off the 50 year JFK homecoming celebrations. At the Dunbrody Famine Ship Irish Emigration Experience,  a new boardwalk on the quayside was completed linking the Dunbrody, the ship that Patrick Kennedy took during the famine for a new life in Boston, to where JFK spoke in June 1963.

For the first time, permission was granted for a flame from the Eternal Flame at President Kennedy's graveside in Arlington National Cemetery to be used in the lighting of the Emigrant Flame from the Gathering torch.  30 members of the Kennedy family were there.

As soon as Wild Geese member Oisin O'Connell and I walked in the door of the Dunbrody Visitor's center, we were met by Sean Reidy, CEO of the JFK trust.  Mr. Reidy shared what an amazing emotional experience the town had during the celebrations and welcomed with open arms.  We received our tickets as original passengers and proceeded to go through the audio-visual presentation of the very sad but hopeful immigrant experience prior to boarding, the journey on the replica of the Dunbrody, and finally the arrival in North America. I was surprised to see that the Dunbrody's most frequent destination was the tragic Grosse Ile in Quebec, Canada, but I now know why this is one of Ireland's most popular attractions.

We went up to the cafe to see the Irish America Hall of Fame and found the induction of the San Patricio Battalion of Mexico.  Oisin first came to our attention when we helped to promote ZorroFest 2013 in Wexford town which was a celebration of the life of 17th-century Wexfordian William Lamport (Guillèn de Lombardo), the "Irish Zorro".

We had one more stop on my New Ross tour which was the 'Ros Tapestry' across the street... but that is a whole other story for another day.  

I cannot thank Oisin enough for taking me on this memorable journey and as we left the 'Quayside Experience' Oisin insisted I do the JFK handshake and I am so happy I did!

Read more on the 2013 50th JFK Homecoming Celebrations in New Ross, Wexford:

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Tags: america, county, dunbroady, eternal, fame, famine, flame, hall, history, ireland, More…irish, jfk, new, of, ross, ship, wexford

Comment by Oisín Ó Conail on November 4, 2013 at 10:52am
Hey Alannah! It was lovely to have you here, and thanks for the great excuse to visit these places with you :-) I hope next time we can get to Enniscorthy and visit the 1798 Centre. Take care agus go n'eirí an bothar leat!
Comment by Alannah Ryane on November 4, 2013 at 11:54am

No thank you!  You were amazing to have treated myself and to a d of memorable experiences! Your love of Ireland and your pride in the New Ross area and people was genuinely felt and appreciated.  Seeing it all through your eyes was an extra bonus.  We thank you again so very much for your contribution to the Wild Geese experience in Ireland and yes I am planning on another trip back to make my travelling reporter posts and hoping for another trip through the back roads of Ireland with you!

Can you remind me where what this monastery is I have forgotten so many amazing historical places around every corner?

Comment by Oisín Ó Conail on November 4, 2013 at 8:08pm
You're very welcome.

That's Dunbrody Abbey near Ballyhack -
Comment by James Richard Johnson on November 7, 2013 at 7:26pm
We are going to visit! Lord willing.


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