John Fitzgerald Kennedy - JFK
Thomas Fitzgerald was JFK's great grandfather on his mother's side. He was born in Bruff, County Limerick in 1823. He was a farmer and lived in a rural part of the Parish. Although the Fitzgerald farm was affected by the Great famine, Thomas managed to keep the farm going until 1854, when he left Ireland and carried with him a family bible. He settled in Boston, Massachusetts and in 1857 married Rosanna Cox who had arrived in Boston from County Cavan, Ireland.
John Kennedy’s great-grandfather on his fathers side Patrick Kennedy, left Dunganstown, County Wexford during the Great famine and became a cooper in Boston. The Kennedy home in Dunganstown was turned into a museum in 1999. In 1849, he married Bridget Murphy, who was born about 1827 in Owenduff, County Wexford. Nine years later she was a widow with four small children, the youngest of whom, Patrick Joseph Kennedy, would become John F. Kennedy's grandfather the Mayor of Boston (Honey Fitz).
On September 18, 1889, John Francis "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald married Mary Josephine Hannon of Acton, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of Michael Hannon and Mary Ann Fitzgerald, both born in Ireland. Their daughter, Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald, was born on July 22, 1890 in Boston. She was John F. Kennedy's mother. In all, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy would have nine children, four boys and five girls.
In November 1887, Patrick Joseph "P. J." Kennedy married Mary Augusta Hickey, daughter of James Hickey of Cork, Ireland, and Margaret M. Field, also of Ireland. Their son, Joseph Patrick Kennedy, was born on September 6, 1888 in East Boston. He was John F. Kennedy's father.
Over a century later John Fitzgerald Kennedy would lay his hand on that same bible as he took the oath of office while remembering his poor immigrant ancestors. One can only imagine the reaction of the Fitzgerald’s on the way to “the land of the free” had someone predicted the future importances of the same bible.
This Bible is on display in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. A clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court held the large bible as John Fitzgerald Kennedy took his oath of office as 35th President of the United States on January 20, 1961. The Bible is an 1850 edition of the Douay English translation containing a handwritten chronicle of the Fitzgerald family from 1857 and including a record of the birth of John Fitzgerald Kennedy on May 29, 1917.
The connection between Bruff and the Family of John Fitzgerald Kennedy has long been established and has appeared in a number of publications. In October 1994, Mrs. Jean Kennedy Smith in her role as United States Ambassador to Ireland visited Bruff and witnessed the various locations that her ancestors emigrated from and read the parish records which authenticate this relationship between Bruff and the Fitzgerald's.
Members of the Bruff Heritage Group are at present embarking upon a project in the Old Court house incorporating displays relating to various members of the Fitzgerald family for public viewing opening June 2013. The group have also identified the grave of one of the Fitzgerald family which was unknown until recently.
Vist www.bruffheritagegroup.com for more details.
Bruff Town/De Valera Country/Golden Vale
Bruff is a mystical Irish town situated in the beautiful Golden Vale & Lough Gur District, and the area around Bruff is quite scenic with buildings up to the early Christian period dotted about as well.
The Morning Star river & waterfall meanders through the sleepy town & tranquil park. The town has excellent Festival committees and enjoys 8 festivals in town and 4 with in 3km of the town. Although Bruff is a small country town it has superb restaurants & Irish pubs where you can mingle and converse freely with the hospitable locals.
Good food is at the heart of what makes The Old Bake House a success and friendly service ensures that your visit to their Restaurant is an enjoyable one. Open Mondays to Sundays for evening dinner and lunches and Monday to Saturday for Breakfast 9-11.30.
Clancys Bar & Steakhouse has a lot to offer. This well-run pub is a great all rounder, so whether it’s breakfast, lunch or evenings meals, good wholesome bar food with generous portions and keen prices are served throughout the day.
On Saturday a trip to the Milk Market to enjoy the modern tradition of the market with the varied and many stalls is highly recommended. On Monday mornings, the Kilmallock livestock mart is an experience of sounds and smells with the transfer of cattle from farmer to another. The evenings wont be boring either with strong festivals and events locally on a monthly basis
The world famous archaeological site and visitor centre at Lough Gur being one of the most important archaeological sites in europe, is located only 2 miles from the house and is open from May to September from 10.30 am to 5 pm.
The centre tells the story of the first arrivals of the Celts through interpretative panels and audio visual means, and guided tours are run once a week through song and story telling the history of the crannogs, church sites, megalithic tombs, stone circles and ring forts. (Off season tours can be organised on prior request with a guide)
Audio walks of Lough Gur now available to download onto your Ipod or mobile phone in MP3 format. The two walks ‘Legendary Lough Gur’ and ‘Magical Lough Gur’ have a running time of approximately 60 minutes each but you can take as long as you need by pausing the recording as and when required. An accompanying map will be available to guide you through the walk at our home or the Heritage Centre.
Magical Lough Gur i-Trail
Watch video on YouTube:
Bruff heritage committee have established an excellent website and are carrying on important preservation works around the town. Visit their site for more details
Medival town fortified in 1375 with 5 impressive towers hints at the wealth of this once thriving town. Building of note include the Dominican priory established in 1291, John's Castle a 15th centuary peel tower and 16th century stone mansion. A guide can be organised by prior request.
Home to the first President of Ireland Eamonn Dev Valera, the former school house he entered as a young boy now houses an extensive collection of personal belongings alongside recording early 20th century life.
Griston Bog - the Ballyhoura outdoor class room has raised Boardwalks over the bog to bring children through varied habitats to a range of facilities such as the bird feeding station and birdhide, insect hotel and pond-dipping facility to give children a real feel for the great outdoors. Wildlife is very accessible and this activity can be accessed by families on day trips to enjoy the beautiful walk ways. www.ballyhouraoutdoorclassroom.com