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“Look up Billy, There’s the President of America!!”

Billy Canning

My memory is very simple, yet its effect had a profound effect which has lasted the intervening 50 years. We lived in the yard of Borris House Co Carlow, and on that day my Mother was leading me by the hand out the drive of Borris House towards the town. Then suddenly the most unusual sound came from the sky, and two huge helicopters appeared to skim the trees above the estate at huge speed. As I was only a child I was probably afraid, but what I remember was my Mother’s excitement, indicating to me that this was nothing to be afraid of but instead something wonderful to behold, I can remember her exact words, “Billy look up that’s the President of America!!!!”
The effect of that totally opportune fly past en route to his New Ross visit, gave me my lifelong fascination with all matters aviation, leading up to me becoming a private pilot myself.

But primarily it gave me a lifelong interest in the Kennedy family which culminated in me meeting the President’s Sister, the US Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith, I met her at her residence in the Phoenix Park. I was there in a professional capacity as the lighting designer with Waterford Crystal to design some lights for her private residence in New York. During our most enjoyable meeting I relayed to her the above memory, to which she replied “I was on that helicopter with my Brother you know” The circle was closed.

- in New Ross