After the wreath-laying at Arbour Hill, President Kennedy addressed a Joint Sitting of the Houses of the Oireachtas in Leinster House. A huge crowd had gathered as close to Kildare Street as they could get, awaiting the arrival of JFK at 4.10pm.
This was the first time a foreign head of state had addressed the Oireachtas and the first time that film cameramen were allowed to broadcast proceedings. The public galleries were packed with ambassadors and foreign journalists. During the speech, which was punctuated with numerous bursts of applause, JFK declared that “Ireland’s hour has come. You have something to give to the world – and that is a future of peace with freedom.” He also referenced Ireland’s rich literary history throughout, quoting from James Joyce and famously drawing upon lines by another famous Irish writer. “This is an extraordinary country”, JFK said. “George Bernard Shaw, speaking as an Irishman, summed up an approach to life. Other people, he said, see things and say ‘Why?’…But I dream things that never were – and I say: ‘Why not?’ “
Uploaded Stories from Leinster House
- The End of innocence - Ken Hannigan
- Dressing the doll! - Finola Flynn
- Me and the CIA…? - Peter McIlwaine
- Left out at the last minute - Patrick O'Gorman