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JFK’S Mohair suit

Paddy Kelly

In June 1963 I was 13 years of age. I grew up in Whitehall, Dublin and as today all traffic to and from the airport passed along the area’s main road.
The iconic ‘Viscount’ pub was on that road and near my home in Iveragh Road. I positioned myself across the road on the side that President John F Kennedy would likely pass down.
I was about 15 feet from JFK when his cavalcade passed me by. Television had only arrived in Ireland a few years previously and it fascinated me to see someone famous in person who I had seen on TV.

He stood up in the limo waving to us all as he passed by. Irish President DeValera and his wife sat in the back seat. The constant standing was impressive as we all knew that he had painful back problems.

A couple of other things struck me about JFK. He wore a blue mohair suit. It was strikingly shiny. He also had a deep tan. In those days Irish people did not holiday much abroad so tans were rarely seen in Dublin.

A few years later my mother decided I needed a suit to attend a cousin’s wedding. The mohair cloth was very much in my mind. Little did I know how expensive it was. I did though manage to convince my Mam that mohair was the business. She too was a JFK fan so she relented. The colour of my suit, alas, was not blue but an equally attractive brown. She said to me: “That will have to do you until your wedding.”
Unfortunately feeling as if I was JFK while wearing my mohair suit was to last a mere year as a motor car crashed into me and a resultant compound leg fracture saw to it that the bone cut into my beloved suit.

- in JFK’S Mohair suit