Previously unseen 1963 film of John F Kennedy emerges in Ireland

The grainy footage shows John F Kennedy riding in an open sedan car, waving to cheering crowds, escorted by police motorcycles.

The scene was filmed in 1963, and in some ways eerily recalls the famous footage of his killing just months later.

Previously unseen film has emerged, taken five months before his assassination, and in New Ross, a town in County Wexford in south-east Irlanda, where Kennedy made a pilgrimage to the family homestead of his great-grandfather.

Peggy Walsh, an amateur videographer and local resident, recorded the 27 June visit in a 20-minute colour film. The footage remained in a drawer, largely forgotten, for more than four decades.

Her modest documentation of Kennedy contrasts with that of another amateur filmmaker, Abraham Zapruder, Oms, su 22 novembre 1963, recorded the politician riding in an open car past cheering crowds in Dallas, Texas, and being shot. It became arguably the most famous film of the 20th century.

Walsh, now aged 98, and her daughter Ann Larkin recently accepted the offer of another New Ross resident, Paddy Breen, to convert her film to DVD.

“It’s been in a drawer for nearly 50 years without anyone going near it,” said Larkin. “To have it now and have it looking so good is just fantastic. When you see the crowds around him, the freedom and the friendliness of it, it really was like a homecoming.”

They have donated it to the New Ross library’s Kennedy Book and Research Archive, an offshoot of the annual Kennedy summer school, which holds talks and events in the Wexford town in September.

Willie Keilthy, the chair of the summer school, thanked Walsh and Larkin for preserving and donating the film. It is to be shown to the public for the first time at an outdoor screening on 2 settembre.

Kennedy described his visit in 1963 as an emigrant homecoming. “It took 115 years to make this trip, e 6,000 miglia, and three generations,” he said in a quayside speech.

The spot is marked by a statue and an “emigrant flame”, which flickers inside a metal sculpture, dedicated to the diaspora. It was lit by a torch taken from the eternal flame by his grave in Arlington, Virginia.

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