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The Luck of the Irish!

Cyril A.Daunt

The Presidential party boarded our two coaches for the journey into New Ross. The last people to board my coaches were two security men. One of them came up to me and instructed that I was not to stop anywhere on the journey at all for security reasons. I wasn’t too happy about this as it would be difficult if people were milling about in front of the bus but I said nothing at the time. As we approached the town I had to stop at a red traffic light. The security men didn’t look a bit happy but I said that as a coach driver in Ireland the law forbade me to go through a red light and that no one in Ireland would ever harm President Kennedy or his party. The light then changed to green but I discovered to my horror that the engine had stalled. This was really scary! My co-driver in the following coach, Mr.Donie O’Brien, (now deceased) had spotted that I was in trouble so he gentle nudged the rear of my coach and that thankfully re-started the engine. He probably saved my life.

We proceeded into New Ross where President Kennedy was received with rapturous applause and addressed the crowd with very well-chosen words.

After this, we proceeded to Dunganstown to the Ryan residence. Tea was served here and there was a heavily laden table of sandwiches, cakes etc., for all the guests. My co-driver Donie and I were standing some distance away beside our coaches. President Kennedy noticed that we had not been served any refreshments and he beckoned us over and make sure that we had plenty to eat and drink. We were really impressed. We were so happy to be taking part in the welcome for this extraordinary man and were so proud of his Irish heritage.

The interesting sequel to all of this occurred when was driving into my Cork residence later on having come back from Dunganstown. Suddenly, there was a loud bang and a conn-rod blew out the side of my engine resulting in an extremely loud bang. I was literally transfixed with shock! If that loud bang had taken place earlier in the journey the security men would have presumed that someone was firing at the President or at the very least that there was some threat to his safety. I was such a lucky man!

- in New Ross