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Me and the CIA…?

Peter McIlwaine

I was 17 years old, living in Templeogue with my parents, and realising how “uncool” it was to have two guinea pigs as pets at my age, so I decided to donate them to the “Pets Corner” at Dublin Zoo. I got the 49 bus from the little village of Tallaght into Dublin, carrying the guinea pigs in a large cardboard box, and found myself at the corner of O’Connell St and Aston Quay (?) in the middle of a huge crowd – waiting for JFK to pass by. Standing there, with my large box under my arm, I was approached by a burly aggressive looking type who insisted in knowing what I was carrying. In relating this story afterwards, I’ve always claimed that he had an American accent, and was therefore – obviously – a member of the CIA (or FBI?) but to be honest, he probably came from Cork. Anyway, he made me open the box, and, on viewing the contents, asked me why I was carrying a box of rats !! I did get to see JFK, and Eamonn de Valera, and better still, got a free pass to Dublin Zoo for the following 2 years to visit Pinky and Perky…..!

- in Leinster House