Ireland was astounded during the week to learn that Jackie Kennedy had been exchanging personal letters with an Irish priest for years. However, any initial expectations of a new juicy scandal proved unfounded, as the correspondence proved to be entirely innocent.
|Jackie Kennedy and her daughter, Caroline (left), in Wexford, in 1967|
Jackie met a priest call Fr Joseph Leonard when she visited Ireland in 1950 as a 21-year-old student. They only met one more time, in 1955, but continued to exchange letters until Fr Leonard died in 1964, shortly after the assassination of JFK. Although very frail at the time, it was Fr Leonard who led the memorial mass for JFK in the Pro Cathedral in Dublin in the days after events had unfolded in Dallas.
These letters have now been put up for sale by All Hallows College, and will be auctioned by Sheppard’s Irish Auction House in Durrow, Co. Laois, on June 10.
|Jackie, Caroline and John visiting JFK's Ryan relatives in Wexford, 1967.|
Jackie Kennedy visited Ireland in 1967 and went to Dunganstown, Co. Wexford, to visit the Ryan’s at JFK’s ancestral home. Images from this visit are part of the Irish Photo Archive’s collection, and were commissioned by the Irish Times on Wednesday to illustrate their analysis of this emerging story. You can see these images here on this blog, or find more of the various Kennedy visits on www.irishphotoarchive.ie, or you can view the Irish Times gallery here.