In 1963, John F. Kennedy became the first sitting U.S. President to visit Ireland. In his address to the Parliament in Dublin, he spoke of Irish emigration to the United States, Ireland’s support for American independence, and the small nation’s own historic struggle for freedom from the British. Kennedy also reflected upon his own Irish ancestry, speculating about what would have been had Ireland been independent when his great-grandfather came to America. During the address, he praised the Irish character as one of “hope, confidence, and imagination” — traits the young President considered vital in a world whose problems could not be solved by skeptics or cynics, but rather by dreamers and visionaries.
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