Inshallah you are all smiling brightly this fine July day. I see on the net you are getting Middle East type weather back home in Ireland with highs of 25C expected. Now you all know how we feel in the middle of winter out here.
MB has now arrived back in the Middle East after the most exhausting 10 days of his life back home. Was just far too much going on and MB was stuck in the think of all the action as you can imagine. Far too many topics for one blog so MB will confine himself to one topic this week – Caroline.
Caroline with dad JFK, on board the yacht ‘Honey Fitz’. August 1963. MB did not take this photo.
Yes lads, the only living daughter of JFK was back in her ancestral homeland of HX last week and what a week it was. She brought along the husband and 3 kids and they were given the royal treatment by local HXers, as one would expect. Great grandfather John Fitzgerald left HX (Bruff village actually) in 1852, taking his Bible with him on which JFK famously swore his oath of office in 1961, coincidentally the same year MB was born. In case you are wondering lads, Caroline did not return the Bible to the local church last week, interestingly enough.
To clear up a few queries –
Two days of travel at start of the break took MB from Saudi Arabia to Dubai, then onwards to Dublin and a bus trip down the M7 to HX. Someone mentioned to MB that the local village was looking resplendent in anticipation of the visit of CK & family. So nothing for MB to do but grab the Canon and head straight on up there to record it all.
The guy wasn’t lying. The entire village had got a repaint in the typical colours you might see in some of the prettiest villages in Ireland and looked picture postcard perfect. Cleaning and painting were still in evidence and ongoing as many gave last-minute licks of spit to their properties to have them glistening for the big event. The entire village beamed of local pride, after huge effort on the part of so many over previous months to get it to this state before the arrival. And so the stage was set.
The entire village was out bright and early on following day to greet the ‘home-comers’, more than 160 years after Caroline’s great-grandfather departed. News was filtering through that the expected arrival time would not be met, and this transpired in the end to be a 90 minute delay. The Kennedys had arrived in Dublin the previous day and had met with the President & Prime Minister. But the pangs of hunger attacked as they made the trip to Limerick and they pulled into the ‘Midway’ motorway service station for fish & chips or whatever. Hence the delayed arrival in the village.
Upon arrival the family were greeted by the community around the church gates, the church being the first port of call to inspect the family baptismal records. Following the church event the hungry Kennedys attended lunch in the former Protestant Church and a family member sat at each table to shoot the breeze with all. At that point MB had to depart the occasion as he was involved in a surprise wedding elsewhere (more on that in next blog perhaps), bade his farewells and left them to it. The family later walked through the village to the former court-house where they dedicated the building to Caroline’s great-grandfather, and later visited a now disused graveyard where some family members are buried.
The occasion featured in all the national newspapers on following day and the village basked in the glory. Was a real joy to be home to witness it all and big congrats to all who made it happen.
The evening before:
The Old Courthouse building, now dedicated to John Fitzgerald (grandfather of JFK)
On the day: