A bronzed JFK comes home to Bruff

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Fr Johnny Daly blessing the JFK statue in Bruff under the watchful eye of Michael Fitzgerald. Photo: Brendan Gleeson
Fr Johnny Daly blessing the JFK statue in Bruff under the watchful eye of Michael Fitzgerald. Photo: Brendan Gleeson

A life-sized bronze statue of the 35th US President John F Kennedy, which cost approximately €40,000, has been unveiled at his ancestral home in Bruff.

The statue, designed by Clare sculptor Sean Connolly, and funded by Limerick City and County Council, was unveiled by Mairead McGuinness, Vice President of the European Parliament.

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The sculpture features a bronze bible symbolising the Bible used at Kennedy’s presidential inauguration in January 1961, and which was brought from Bruff to Boston by Kennedy’s great grandfather Thomas Fitzgerald when he emigrated to the US in 1852.

Fitzgerald’s son John “Honeyfitz” – JFK’s grandfather – went on to become the first catholic mayor of Boston.

The family’s sacramental details are to be found at the Thomas Fitzgerald Centre, in the town, which was officially opened by JFK’s daughter Caroline, in 2013.

Bruff Community Council chairman Mark Nagle said that JFK’s story was one they had wanted to tell for a while to ensure people were aware that Bruff was his true ancestral home.

“The statue emphasises the Bible used to swear him in as the US President, which was the same bible brought from Bruff to America by his great grandfather.”

Mr Nagle said Bruff was “proud” to celebrate “the greatest emigrant success story ever”.

“President Kennedy came from two generations of poverty and went on to lead one of the world’s most powerful political dynasties. It’s a story that continues to endure.”

“It is also, maybe, fitting and important to keep in mind the importance of the contribution of emigrants, especially in these times,” Mr Nagle added.

by David Raleigh

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