Kennedy family visit Ireland to commemorate JFK

John F Kennedy's daughter Caroline makes a speech at the homestead in Ireland. Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Descendants of the most famous political dynasty gathered today at a farmhouse in Ireland to mark the day John F Kennedy came back to his ancestral home.

Fifty years on from that visit - reputed to be among the US President's happiest memories - his great-grandfather Patrick's homestead in Dunganstown, County Wexford, has been transformed into a €1.5 million (£1.3 million) museum.

Patrick Grennan, 38, is the eighth generation to inherit the farm and decided 14 years ago to open a makeshift visitor centre to cater for the stream of people knocking on his door.

Mr Grennan, a beef and grain farmer, was struggling to make a good living out of agriculture at the time.

Caroline Kennedy, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Jean Kennedy Smyth. Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

"It just became glaringly obvious I had to do something about it", he said.

In 1999, he pulled together some cash and took a small rural enterprise grant to upgrade one of the old barns.

The eternal flame from John F Kennedy's grave is delivered by Jean Kennedy Smith and the Irish Naval service. Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

He filled it with family history and photos of his grandmother Mary Ryan welcoming her cousin JFK to the farm in June 1963.

To mark its official opening as an "international standard" attraction and the 50th anniversary of JFK's visit to Ireland, around 30 of the Kennedy clan returned for a day of celebrations.

A bust of Senator Ted Kennedy unveiled at the Kennedy family homestead. Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

A flame taken from JFK's grave ignited a new emigrant light at the harbour in New Ross, County Wexford, while a bust to Ted Kennedy was unveiled at the homestead.

But the people of Dunganstown are taking it all in their stride.

"Nearly every year for the last 20 we have had a Kennedy in the place," Grennan said. "They are used to Kennedys coming around here. They don't even bat an eyelid".