John F Kennedy Lectern, 1963
The lectern from which President Kennedy adressed the Dail and the Seanad
On June 28, 1963, President John F Kennedy addressed both houses of the Oireachtas. It was a historic visit, not least because Kennedy, a young, dynamic Irish-American, had long made much of his Irish roots. Speaking at this lectern, Kennedy described his heritage, made an attack on literary censorship and noted – to the delight of the assembled politicians – that Leinster House “does not inspire the brightest ideas.”
The ‘lectern’ is actually a music stand that was owned by John Brennock, who bought it in an antique shop on Fishamble Street. During one of many meetings to prepare for President Kennedy’s visit, it was realised that the Dáil chamber did not have a lectern that could be used for a speech – TDs address the Dáil from where they are seated. Mr Brennock offered to lend his music stand to the Oireachtas. By the time the stand was returned – strapped to the top of a car – Kennedy had already been shot.
With thanks to Mark Brennock
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