29th June 1963
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On the final day of his Irish visit, US President John F. Kennedy visited Galway and gave the following oration at Eyre Square...

JFK: "If the day was clear enough, and if you went down to the bay, and you looked west, and your sight was good enough, you would see Boston, Mass. And if you did, you would see down working on the docks there some Doughertys and Flahertys and Ryans and cousins of yours who have gone to Boston and made good. I wonder if you could perhaps let me know how many of you here have a relative in America, who you would admit to--if you would hold up your hand? I don't know what it is about you that causes me to think that nearly everybody in Boston comes from Galway. They are not shy about it, at all.

I want to express, as we are about to leave here, to you of this country how much this visit has meant. It is strange that so many years could pass and so many generations pass and still some of us who came on this trip could come home and, here to Ireland, and feel ourselves at home and not feel ourselves in a strange country, but feel ourselves among neighbours, even though we are separated by generations, by time, and by thousands of miles.

You send us home covered with gifts which we can barely carry, but most of all you send us home with the warmest memories of you and of your country. So I must say that though other days may not be so bright as we look toward the future, the brightest days will continue to be those in which we visited you here in Ireland. If you ever come to America, come to Washington and tell them, if they wonder who you are at the gate, that you come from Galway. The word will be out and when you do, it will be "Céad Míle Fáilte," which means one hundred thousand welcomes. Thank you and goodbye!"

 

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