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John F Kennedy's letter to Conna (East Cork) native

Very few people will have ever received a personal letter signed by none other than John F Kennedy, but one such person was a lady who came from the Conna area of East Cork.

Monday, 2 December 2013
5:15 PM GMT



Very few people will have ever received a personal letter signed by none other than John F Kennedy, but one such person was a lady who came from the Conna area of East Cork.

Her son, Tom Byrne lives in Boston, his parents originally from Knockmourne and Clashaganive Conna. Tom had many happy visits to the Byrne home, The Forge in Conna, the Boston Byrnes keep very close links to Conna and still come to visit.

Tom's mum Mary received a letter from John F Kennedy exactly 61 years ago this week and Tom's cousin Patrick, thought it might be of interest to family connections or those in the Conna area who Tom fondly recalls, people such as Jack Noonan, Pa Barry etc.

Tom writes: "To Pat, Angela and Ellen, I thought you might like to have a copy (of the letter) for yourself at this time in particular. It is probably the closest any of the Tobins or Byrnes have come to a future US president. My mother never mentioned to us that she had received this. I stumbled across it when going through her papers after her death. She truly kept just about everything, but for a fan of history like me, I’m so glad she did. I recently came across all of the newspapers that she kept from the aftermath of the assassination including a copy of The Cork Weekly Examiner that Nellie Whyte from Youghal had sent her.

"I can tell you that the signature is JFK’s as I had a meeting earlier this year at the Kennedy Library in Dorchester and had the opportunity to show the original to some of the staff there. At first they were going to check it against the signatures that they had of the various secretaries who signed things for him. But when they saw that it was written when he was still a congressman who had just won election to the US Senate, they assured me that he did not have people signing for him at that point in his career.

"So enjoy a little piece of history from a Clashagannive girl who was so proud to have a son of Ireland representing her in Washington that she took the time to write and congratulate him. The fact that he responded himself and that she kept the letter safe without ever mentioning it is amazing. It truly makes you wonder when you realise he would be killed just 3 days short of 11 years from the date of the letter."

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