The Emigrant Trail

Patrick Kennedy, the great-grandfather of US President John F. Kennedy, was born and reared in Dunganstown, New Ross, Co Wexford. There are three heritage sites in Co. Wexford celebrating the legacy of the Kennedy family:

  • The Kennedy Homestead

  • Dunbrody Famine Ship and Irish Emigration Experience

  • The JFK Arboretum

All three are located only minutes from The Brandon House Hotel.

The Kennedy Homestead

The Kennedy Homestead is the birthplace of President John F. Kennedy's great-grandfather Patrick Kennedy. Patrick, along with many of his fellow countrymen and women, fled the Great Famine in 1848 on board a ship departing from the port of New Ross. Within three generations his great-grandson, John F. Kennedy, was elected the 35th President of the United States.
For more information please visit the Kennedy Homestead website
The Kennedy Homestead, Dunganstown, New Ross, Co Wexford

The Dunbrody Famine Ship and Irish Emigration Experience

The Dunbrody was originally a 19th Century three-masted sailing ship that brought many emigrants from Ireland to North America during and after the Great Famine. An exact replica of The Dunbrody was constructed and completed in New Ross in 2001. Visitors can take a tour of the Dunbrody and imagine the journey taken by Patrick Kennedy in 1848. The Visitor Centre at the Dunbrody features The Irish Emigration Database, the most comprehensive database of Irish emigration to the United States (in conjunction with the Balch Institute in Philadelphia, the Ellis Island Restoration Commission in New York and the Battery Conservancy in New York).

The Dunbrody Visitor Centre also features The Irish Emigrant Wall of Honour, which is a national memorial to the Irish Diaspora. Inductees include: Donald R. Keough, William J. Flynn, Michael Flatley, Charles F. Feeney, President William J. Clinton, Dr. Kevin Cahill, William Clay Ford, Jr, Mary Higgins Clark, Denis Kelleher, Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, Maureen O’Hara, Dr. James Watson, Kevin Roche, Thomas Moran, Dr. John L. Lahey, Commissioner Ray Kelly, Loretta Brenna Glucksman

The JFK Arboretum

The Arboretum was conceived and developed as a dedication to the memory of John F. Kennedy and is a truly outstanding plant collection covering 252 hectares (623 acres). It contains 4,500 types of trees and shrubs from all temperate regions of the world, planted in botanical sequence.

There are 200 forest plots grouped by continent. Special features include an Ericaceous Garden, (with 500 different rhododendrons, and many varieties of azaleas and heathers), dwarf conifers, hedges, ground covers and climbing plants. The lake is the most popular part of the Arboretum, and is a haven for waterfowl. A road provides access to the 271m summit from which there are panoramic views.

The JFK Arboretum Visitor Centre houses exhibitions and an audio visual show.