JFK in Ireland: Four Days That Changed a President by Ryan Tubridy (Lyons Press, $27.50, 302 pages)
“This is not the land of my birth, but it is the land for which I hold the greatest affection.” President John F. Kennedy, Limerick, Ireland – June 29, 1963
“During his visit here we came to regard the President as one of ourselves… We were proud of him.” Eamon de Valera, President of Ireland – November 22, 1963
I’ve read most of the books written about the Kennedys and can vouch for the fact that this one is unique. JFK in Ireland is not about John Kennedy, the politician, president or historical figure. It is also not about JFK the intellectual. This book lets us get to know the JFK who was an emotional person, with real thoughts and feelings – who just five months before his death fell in love with the country of his ancestors.
Ryan Tubridy concisely and beautifully covers the details of the “four days that changed a president.” Kennedy’s visit to Ireland allowed him to discover a part of his being that had previously remained hidden. During the last day of his visit, JFK was to state, “I wish I could stay here for another week, or another month.” He also said, “This is where we all say goodbye.”
“…his sense of his own Irishness was growing stronger by the year.”
Tubridy, a major TV personality in Ireland, summarizes here the history and character of the Irish people; people who were once “on the lower rungs of society.” They were to produce a president who learned in his near-final days why he was proud to have come from their stock. Very, very well done.
A review copy was provided by the publisher. “Here was a fellow who came from (impoverishment) on both paternal and maternal sides who had reached the very top in the United States. That was felt throughout the country.” Thomas Kiernan, former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland