The John F Kennedy Trust operate the Dunbrody Famine Ship and Visitor Centre in New Ross, Co. Wexford.
The Dunbrody is a three-masted wooden barque (sailing ship), built in New Ross as a replica of the original 19th century Dunbrody (famine ship), and launched on 11th February 2001. She was towed to the quayside in New Ross and opened to visitors on the 1st May that year. The ship is a tourist attraction with education content, provides a world-class interpretation of the famine emigrant experience, has welcomed over 500,000 visitors to date, and is one of the highest profile tourist attractions in the South-East. The quarters on the ship are fitted out exactly as they were for a voyage of that time with a mix of reproduction and authentic artefacts. Dunbrody is open to the public 364 days a year (9-6pm) and has full access for disabled visitors.
The activities of the JFK have broadened to include running the Kennedy Homestead, running the Tea Rooms at the Arboretum, supporting start-up and small business (http://www.dunbrody.com/risingtide/), and bring New Ross and the Irish America connection to a more diverse audience with the Kennedy Summer School.
The Visitor Centre also houses a charming river-view cafe and the Irish America Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame commemorates the critical contribution of Irish men and women to US history, as well as acknowledging the continuing contribution of contemporary Irish-Americans. Each year the Hall of Fame inducts new members; most recently Donald Keough, Michael Flatley and Maureen O’Hara.
Community Finance (Ireland) assisted the group by investing in various capital upgrades both aboard the ship and within the Visitor Centre, with a view to further enhancing the visitor experience at this premier tourist attraction.
Social Finance Foundation was pleased to provide the funding to Community Finance Ireland for the project.