JOHN F. KENNEDY PARK & ARBORETUM
A beautiful woodland park, dedicated to the memory of JFK
John F. Kennedy Park & Arboretum is dedicated to the memory of John F. Kennedy, President of the United States (1960-1963) who was tragically assassinated in 1963, the same year that he visited his ancestral home in New Ross, County Wexford.
The John F. Kennedy Arboretum houses a fabulous plant collection of international standing, covering 622 acres on Slieve Coillte and home to 4,500 types of trees and shrubs from all temperate regions of the world, planted in botanical sequence and 200 forest plots grouped by continent, along with rhododendrons and dwarf conifers. Beautiful year round, spring and early summer in JFK Park is a riot of blooms and colours, while autumn showcases the glorious changing of foliage colours.
Experience the guided tours, signposted walks, lake, cafe & miniature railway (seasonal), pony and trap service, while a playground and picnic area is also on offer in JFK Park. Enjoy a walk through the Ericaceous Garden, which has no less than five hundred different rhododendrons plus a host of varieties of azaleas and heather. Interlacing paths, from tarmacked access roads to grassy woodland trails, make for a relaxing walk in a natural environment. The shimmering lake is a haven for waterfowl. Enjoy a picnic with friends and family, while your children have fun in the maze and play area.
The JFK Memorial Park & Arboretum is also home to an exhibition which chronicles President Kennedy’s time in the White House. The Kennedy family became a true symbol of the new life to be found in America, from the humble beginnings of Patrick Kennedy who immigrated from New Ross to Boston in 1849, to his great-grandchildren who became stalwarts of American society. John become President of the United States, Bobby Attorney General, Edward a notable Senator, Jean US Ambassador to Ireland and Eunice founded the Special Olympics.
No visit to JFK Park is complete without a visit to the nearby Slieve Coillte “Hill of the Wood” viewing point which has a breath-taking view of 6 counties from its summit. Just outside the main entrance gate, a winding road will give you easy access to the summit. From a height of just under 270 metres enjoy stunning panoramic views of Wexford and beyond. On a clear day, you can see Hook Head Lighthouse, Waterford City, the Comeraghs, the Galtees Mountains, Slievenamon, the Blackstairs, Brandon Hill, and a host of minor hills and villages.
Only a 15 minutes’ drive from JFK Memorial Park & Arboretum is the Kennedy Homestead at Dunganstown, which showcases the remarkable Kennedy story. Their fortune rose from famine emigrant to President of the new world. The Kennedy Homestead, birthplace of JFK’s great grandfather Patrick Kennedy who left Ireland for Boston, celebrates the story of 5 generations of the Kennedy dynasty. The state of the art visitor centre boasts an interpretive exhibition and unique collection of Kennedy memorabilia, allowing visitors to follow the fortunes of the most famous Irish emigrant families. Curator Patrick Grennan is a cousin of the Kennedys of Massachusetts and farms the land that Patrick left in 1849.
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