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President John F Kennedy in Cork 55 years ago. Pictures: Robert Knudsen, White House/John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, Boston
President John F Kennedy in Cork 55 years ago. Pictures: Robert Knudsen, White House/John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, Boston
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Research shows JFK had a great-grandmother in Cork

RESEARCH undertaken to celebrate the 55th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s visit to Ireland has revealed the much-loved American president had links to Cork.

Research from Ancestry, a leading search website on family history and home genomics, shows JFK had one great-grandparent from Cork — Margaret M Field from Rosscarbery came from his father’s side of the family. Kennedy was given the Freedom of Cork in 1963, just a few months before he was assassinated.

Three of his four great-grandparents on his mother’s side, Mary Ann Fitzgerald, Michael Hannon and Thomas Fitzgerald are from Limerick.

Both Fitzgerald great-grandparents hail from Bruff in the east of the county, while Michael Hannon hails from Lough Gur.

Only two great-grandparents hail from Wexford, Patrick Kennedy from Dunganstown and Bridget Murphy from Owenduff.

Kennedy chose Wexford as his ancestral home due to the family name but research shows that the Limerick links on his mother’s side are stronger than his Wexford roots.

All eight of JFK’s great-grandparents emigrated from Ireland at various times throughout the 1800’s with each of them eventually settling in Massachusetts. This means the Kennedy family have Irish ancestry spanning the country proving him to be a true Irishman.

Traditionally, JFK’s strongest ties have been with the county of Wexford, where the Kennedy Homestead Visitor Centre was opened five years ago.

Russell James, spokesperson for Ancestry.ie, said: “President John F. Kennedy’s family history has been a much-discussed topic over the years with his Irish roots being something that was extremely important to him. Traditionally JFK’s heritage has been closely linked with Wexford but we’re delighted to find records on Ancestry which show he had strong links to other counties across Ireland.

“These findings will hopefully allow other counties across Ireland to further celebrate the life of the former American President, on the 55th anniversary of his visit to Ireland.”