June 13, 2024

‘Dear Dot’ – former US President JFK’s heartfelt message to Kilkenny woman

A PREVIOUSLY unheard recording has emerged of former US President John F. Kennedy thanking his friend, Kilkenny woman Dot Tubridy, for her “invaluable contribution” to his election campaign.

Dot Tubridy was a long-time family friend of the Kennedys and an unofficial Irish ambassador to the US.

The recording was uncovered by the Trim Tourism Network during the curation of the Dot Tubridy exhibition ‘Dear Dot’, which is currently on view at the Trim Visitor Centre in Co Meath.

Born in Kilkenny, Tubridy (pictured) became an extended member of the Kennedy family through her friendship with Ethel and Robert Kennedy. She became deeply involved in the Kennedy family’s election campaigns and was involved in the planning for President Kennedy’s visit to Ireland to 1963, according to a press release issued by Trim Tourism Network.

The two-minute message from John F. Kennedy, made when the future president was still a senator, thanks Tubridy for helping his campaign.

Kennedy told Tubridy: “As you may know, I’ve been nominated by the Democratic Party to be their standard bearer.

“I wanted to take this opportunity to send my greetings to the people of Ireland. All my great-grandparents came here during the potato famine 100 years ago to Boston. This country has been very generous to the Kennedys and the Fitzgeralds but we also think of Ireland.

“Ten years ago while staying with my sister in Waterford, I drove to New Ross Wexford and visited the Kennedys in the same house that my great-grandparents had come from so many years ago.

“This is going to be an important election – important for the United States and I think, important for the entire free world. I think we have an excellent chance to win but win or lose, you can be sure that we will fight the good fight and I will have the chance to come back to Ireland again soon.”

At the end of the recording, he includes a personal message for Tubridy.

“Dear Dot, as always I’m late with this but here is a message to the people of Ireland. If you think it’s alright, you can use it in whatever way you think best.

“We miss you and hope you’re coming back soon. Your contribution to the campaign and to the candidate was invaluable in West Virginia and Wisconsin and we feel we’re going to need you this fall so come back to the United States soon. We’ll put you to work.”

David Gorey, vice chairperson of the Trim Tourism Network, said he believes the footage is from 1959.

“No-one even knew this footage existed before we found it among this treasure trove of memorabilia which also includes letters from singers Dean Martin and Bing Crosby,” Mr Gorey told the Irish Mirror.

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