A MAJOR radio documentary examining the visit of United States President Richard Nixon to Limerick will be broadcast this weekend.
Entitled ‘The Forgotten Visit’, it will be broadcast on RTE Radio 1 on Saturday, October 2 at 6.05pm.
The 37th President of the United States and the only one to resign from office, visited Ireland nearly 40 years ago next year, during October 3-5, 1970.
During the Limerick leg of the US President’s three-day trip he and his entourage flew into Shannon Airport on October 3 at 5.30pm, where they were met by Taoiseach Jack Lynch and Dr Patrick Hillary, Minister of External Affairs.
The Presidential party drove from Shannon to Kilfrush House, during which Nixon made several brief stops to greet members of the crowd, including JP ‘Rory’ Liddy, Mayor of Limerick.
The next day, the President flew by helicopter to Dromoland Castle where he hosted a reception for members of the press.
Among those interviewed for the programme are Zita Hayes, who was manager of Kilfrush House in 1970; Kevin Mulcahy, son of John A Mulcahy, the owner of Kilfrush House at that time, and Michael O’Sullivan, a local historian.
Producer Pat O’Mahony was present for Nixon’s stop-off in his home town of Kildare, when he was aged nine. A photo of his then four-year-old sister shaking hands with Nixon in the town square also appeared in the national papers at the time.
Mr O’Mahony said he is amazed at what he has discovered during the preparation of the broadcast, with many new details of his visit coming to light.
Among his discoveries was that Nixon was only in Kildare on his way back from Timahoe in the north of the county to visit where his Quaker ancestors, Thomas and Sarah Milhous, who left for Pennsylvania in 1729.
Eyewitnesses, historians, protesters and broadcasters will for the first time explore how they remember the visit and the wider circumstances in which the trip occurred.