06 Oct 2022

Bertie Ahern announced for the Kennedy Summer School

Kennedy Summer School takes place this weekend

Bertie Ahern announced for the Kennedy Summer School

JFK with relatives in Dunganstown in 1963

The 2022 Kennedy Summer School which will take place in New Ross, the ancestral hometown of President JFK, this weekend.

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was announced just yesterday as a last minute guest at the speakers lunch, during the summer school.

Among the keynote speakers are the US Ambassador to Ireland, Claire Cronin, and former US Representative Joe Kennedy amongst others. We will also be joined by duelling US political commentators, Cal Thomas and Marion McKeone, who will provide an extended version of their weekly radio joust on Today FM in St Michael’s Theatre. Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann, Mark Daly, will discuss his efforts to establish the American Irish State Legislators Caucus which already boasts more than 800 members, some of whom will join in virtually from the US.

Yesterday evening (Thursday) US Ambassador to Ireland Claire Cronin will officially open the summer school followed by a short public interview. Following this event, Failte Ireland's panel of tourism experts took to the stage, including the CEO of Failte Ireland Paul Kelly,  Acting Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland Siobhan McManamy, Dr Dominic Dillane Head of School of Tourism and Hospitality Management at TU Dublin, Chief Executive for the ITOA Ruth Andrews and Cian Ó Lionáin the Assistant Secretary with responsibility for Tourism and Sport policy and funding in the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. The panel will discuss the impact of the global economy and the pandemic on Ireland’s tourism and hospitality sector. 

Getting events underway today (Friday) at 12.30 pm is the ‘Speakers Lunch’ which will take place at the JFK Memorial Park, an event hosted by Boston College. Delegates and invited guests can meet and mingle with the 2022 summer school speakers at the JFK Memorial Park & Arboretum.

In a change of programming for the Kennedy Summer School it has been announced that Bertie Ahern will be the keynote guest speaker at the Kennedy Summer School Speakers Lunch event

The annual Kennedy Summer School session bearing the name of the summer school founder, the late Noel Whelan, ‘The Noel Whelan Interview’ re-commenced events at St. Michael’s Theatre that evening. At 7pm Garda Commissioner Drew Harris will take a seat on stage to participate in the public interview with questions being posed by Kennedy Summer School Director Sinead McSweeney.


Following this interview, the Kennedy Summer School Keynote will be hosted. The guest speaker for 2002 is US layer and Politician Joe Kennedy, son of Joe Kennedy senior and grandson of the US senator and Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Joe Kennedy will be joining the summer school remotely. 


A discussion on Ulysses and Gatsby will take talks and discussions to a close on Friday evening: Irish and American geniuses at work with Prof Philip McGowan, Prof Sarah Churchwell, and Ambassador Dan Mulhall.

Following the Ulysses and Gatsby, discussion the audience will enjoy a break from political discussion and debate as the Kennedy Summer School audience will be offered a respite with the dulcet tones of Colm Mac Con Iomaire.


On Saturday morning the Kennedy Summer School History Symposium will take place at 10.30 am focusing on lost leaders; Michael Collins, Parnell, JFK and Bobby Kennedy with a panel discussion joined by guest speakers Dr Martin O’Donoghue, Neal Thompson, Dr William Murphy, Biona Nic Dhiarmada and Dr Anne Dolan.

   At noon on Saturday, taking things off the air and onto the stage will be Cal Thomas and Marion McKeone. At 2 pm a session on Irish Women Covering Politics will be the focus of attention for political journalists Aoife Moore, Christina Finn, Mandy Johnston, Ciara Phelan, Mary Regan and moderator Ivan Yates.

   At 3 pm the focus will be placed on Irish Politics as Minister Jack Chambers TD, Richard Boyd-Barrett TD, Sorca Clarke TD, Vernona Murphy and moderator Gavin Reilly will take to the stage. 


Later in the afternoon, US politics will be the discussion topic with Prof Sarah Churchwell, John Feehery and Royston Brady and events will come to a close on Saturday evening as a panel from the American Irish State Legislators’ Caucus, which has already attracted a membership of more than 800 will join Senator Mark Daly in conversation with Larry Donnelly. 

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