The JFK50 ‘The Homecoming’ has been announced as the winner in the annual Chambers Ireland Awards category for the ‘Gathering of the Year’ 2013.
The award ceremony took place in Dublin on the evening of November 13, 2013 and was presented by RTE’s Mary Kennedy. In total five County Wexford projects were shortlisted for the 2013 Excellence in Local Government Awards and the county was announced as the winner of three categories including the JFK50 for the Gathering of the Year, Wexford County Library – Discover, Imagine, Grow! was announced as the winner of the best Library Service Category and ‘Rebellion’ at The National 1798 Rebellion Centre won in the Supporting Tourism Category.
The JFK50 ‘The Homecoming’ which took place on June 22, 2013 celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the visit of President Kennedy to the town of his forefathers. New Ross Town Council lightened the Kennedy Torch at Arlington Cemetery and transferred it to the new Emigrant Flame at the quayside in New Ross. The event produced a four-hour show on the main stage in New Ross. The event was embraced by the late President’s family who arrived in great numbers and participated in the event.
New Ross Town Council beat off some stiff competition to win this award, other shortlisted events included, Cork Rebel Week, the International Hurling Festival, Kilkenny Tradfest, Limerick International Fashion & Design Festival, Manchester Mayo Gathering incorporating the Attymass & North Mayo Gathering, IN HUMBERTS FOOTSTEPS and The Hollywood Fair.
Commenting on the award win Eamonn Hore, New Ross Town Manager said, “The Homecoming was a magical event; a labour of love, greatly appreciated by the Kennedy family and by the thousands of people from New Ross and from across the world who attended on that most memorable day in June. I would like to thank Chambers Ireland and IPB for their recognition of this fantastic Gathering event.”
Accepting the award, Cllr Niamh FitzGibbon, Cathaoirleach of New Ross Town Council said, “This is a wonderful recognition that of all of the Gathering events, this really was the best. We were confident that the JFK50 The Homecoming was an amazing event and we know that it had a profound effect on the town. It is something I will always remember and meeting townspeople I know that this event has instilled so much pride in them. The voluntary involvement and participation by local people was unprecedented so I would like to thank everyone for their efforts, I’m delighted to accept this award on behalf of the town council but mostly on behalf of the people of New Ross.”
Madeleine Quirke CEO of Wexford Chamber commented, “I am delighted to see five wonderful projects across Wexford shortlisted for the annual awards. There are some fantastic projects taking place right across the country so to be shortlisted is a real honour and to win is a coup. I know that Wexford County Council and the town council put in a huge amount of work across all of these projects and it is fantastic to see this hard work honoured. I’m thrilled to see New Ross Town Council win this award, out of all of the thousands of Gatherings during 2013 to win this award, it really is an honor.”
Speaking on behalf of the Wexford Gathering Committee, Chairman Cllr John Hegarty said, “I am delighted that the long months of meticulous planning and hard work has been recognized with this prestigious award. 50 years ago, a visit by a young, newly elected JFK put New Ross on the world stage and the JFK50 events of the summer again focussed the eyes of the world on the unique link between Wexford and one of the most iconic figures in American and world history. This award is not only a credit to those involved in organizing the event but also the people of the whole of county Wexford.”
Two other projects across Wexford were shortlisted for the 2013 awards including The Rocks, Wexford Town in the Sports Development Category. Arts Ability in the Sustaining the Arts Category. The Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government showcase best practice in local government and highlight the projects of merit that local authorities undertake.
The final event in the year long JFK50 take place in New Ross Town on November 22, to remember and to celebrate the life of President John F. Kennedy fifty years to the day he was shot and killed while on a campaign trip in 1963.
On Friday, November 22nd a short ceremony will take place at the Emigrant Flame during which wreaths will be laid. The ceremony will commence at 5.50pm and at 6.00pm a Memorial wreaths will be laid on the Quay in honour of the 35th President whose life was cut short in Dallas in 1963 at 6.05pm Irish time. The event on the Quay will pay tribute to the President and all those who left our shores never to return home.
‘The Remembering’ ceremony also feature the premiere of ‘John Fitzgerald Kennedy – The Flame still Burns Brightly’ a specially composed piece of music by distinguished Irish composer Vincent Kennedy. The piece was commissioned by New Ross Town Council for the event and covers the themes of JFK’s presidency. Members of up to ten different bands will perform this piece.
Following the laying of the wreaths a special Mass to commemorate the life of President Kennedy will be celebrated in the parish Church at 7pm celebrated by Bishop of Ferns Dr. Denis Brennan.