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President Clinton touches down at Shannon

WHILE current US President Barack Obama was in Belfast for this week’s G8 Summit in Fermanagh, President Bill Clinton stopped off at Shannon Airport on route to the Middle East. It’s believed to be the first time that a serving and former American President were in Ireland at the same time.

On Monday, President Clinton was seen walking around duty free and the terminal building.

President Clinton was in Shannon for a transit stop en route to the Middle East, landing at 8am – shortly before President Barack landed in Belfast – and departing at 10.30am.

During his second spell as US President in 1998, Mr Clinton arrived in Shannon on Air Force One before giving a speech in front of a large crowd in Limerick City centre.

Almost 50 years ago, President John F Kennedy visited Ireland. He made his last speech in Ireland at Shannon Airport on June 29, 1963, before leaving for the US.

The 12th Army Battalion formed a guard of honour at the airport before President Kennedy delivered his speech.

“This is where we all say goodbye,” he said speech. As he made his way towards the plane, he had in his pocket a telegram from President de Valera, who wrote, “Your visit has been a source of joy and pride to all the people of Ireland and to all their kin throughout the world”.

He had planned to return to Ireland but he was assassinated a few months later.

Meanwhile, combining the wealth of material available in the National Library and in the RTÉ Archive’s exhibition around JFK’s historic visit to his ancestral homeland, a “real-time” Twitter feed will follow the visit from his arrival in Dublin Airport on June 26, 1963, the visit to his ancestral home in Wexford, receiving the freedom of the City in Cork, laying a wreath in Arbour Hill, where he met the cadets that were later to serve at his funeral, through to his departure from Shannon Airport on the June 29, 1963, after a visit to Galway and Limerick.

“The idea behind this “real-time” Twitter campaign is to create an immersive experience for those who lived through these events, or for those experiencing them for the first time through the vast collections in both the National Library and in RTÉ’s Archives,” said Liam Wylie, curator of the JFK Exhibition at RTÉ Archives.

“Encouraging audiences to discover more, a link will bring the user from Twitter into an on-line exhibition where they can view or listen to the visual, audio, video or documentation as it relates to that event on the day 50 years ago.”

Tweeting will commence under the hashtag #jfkhomecoming from next Wednesday and will follow a “real-time” format. Online exhibitions are available on www.rte.ie/archives and www.jfkhomecoming.com and at the National Library, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.


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