In 1970, I met with several other friends and teachers in Dublin. One of them had political connections, so we got an audience with the President of Ireland, then Eamon de Valera, at the presidental mansion in Phoenix Park. Some of the visit I remember as comic: we arrived at the gate, all six of us, in a car not much bigger than a VW Beetle.I'm sure the guards were used to limos and grand cars coming up to the gate and thought "who are these jokers sitting on top of one another?"
They let us through and we waited for a short time in a gorgeously appointed parlor, before a military guard ushered us in. One thing I remember is that the soldier poked the President in the ribs as we neared and De Valera stuck out his hand, I suspect that Dev was so blind at the time that if he had to find our hands instead of the reverse, he might have had problems.
For a minute or two, we talked small talk. The President talked about the visit of JFK in 1963, and all the electronic paraphernalia that Kennedy had brought with him from America including the infamous "hot phone" connection to the Kremlin. Soon after, the soldier took a group picture, and we were gone. Later, I was advised not to make a big deal about the visit while I was in Ireland since the feelings about the 1922 treaty were still strong among survivors of these times.