JFK magically stoked fires of our self-belief

50 years ago, when John F Kennedy visited Ireland, it gave us all hope that there was light at the end of the emigrant tunnel, writes Tom McGurk.

22nd June, 2013
'Looking back now, I think it is no exaggeration to believe that, after John Fitzgerald Kennedy touched down at Dublin airport that sunlit June evening 50 years ago, nothing in Ireland was ever going to be the same again.'

Fifty years ago this week Ireland was consumed by a still unforgettable fairytale. Out of the dank mists of history, a prodigal son had returned from the ghostly diaspora and their millions of descendants. For four days, Ireland came to a halt, to stop and listen, to watch and to stare in wonder. Could one of our own have become this?

Looking back now, I think it is no exaggeration to believe that, after John...

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