28 JUNE 1963, Page 7


My spy in Dunganstown, Co. Wexford, whence President Kennedy's great-grandfather emigrated in 1848, reports that press and tele- vision operatives (by this time reinforced by a 300-strong contingent from Washington) have been striving manfully to put the clock back. The shortage of mud hovels in the area proved a grave disappointment, but photographers were bribing children, in the cause of artistic integrity, to take their shoes and socks off, and there are enough tinkers, donkeys and pigs to ensure that the image of Ireland is preserved intact. But be- hind all the nonsense and the ballyhoo there was no doubting the warmth and spontaneity of the welcome which awaited the first President of the United States ever to visit Ireland; 'people regard him,' my man reports, 'as the symbol of what an Irishman can achieve when he gets a break.'