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Monday 4 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
JFK boy found

We found the boy smiling up at JFK during his visit to Ireland in 1963

John Murphy from Co Wexford has been identified as the seven-year-old boy with no front teeth in the picture.

WE THOUGHT IT would have been easier to find a needle in a haystack when we asked readers yesterday if they could identify the boy beaming up at President John F. Kennedy during his visit to Ireland in June 1963.

But only 24 hours after we posted the picture, we found the boy!

John Murphy from Bannow, Co Wexford got in touch with us to say that he was the one with no front teeth in the National Library of Ireland‘s picture.

John, a then seven-year-old boy, went to meet JFK with his living aunt Kathleen Walsh, who is standing with her arm draped over him, and his late mother, who is standing to the right of them waving her arm.

His late father Phil Murphy was playing the harmonica in the céili band that greeted the President to New Ross that day. “We were there early with him that’s why we got such a good spot at the barrier,” John told

Until now, he always wondered, but he never knew such a photo even existed:

I am really thrilled to have my photo taken with such a legend and never knew one existed until now when it was brought to my attention by my cousin from Wexford town.

“I can’t remember what he [JFK] said but he rubbed my head,” said John. “I have said forever since that is why nothing has ever grown on my head.”

John Murphy, a harmonica player just like his father, pictured today. (Image: The Tin Sandwich Band)

From what he can recall, John remembers it was a “fine day” and how “very impressed” he was by all of the helicopters flying about.

“He made a speech and said if his ancestors didn’t leave Ireland he [JFK] probably would have been working in the Albatros factory in New Ross. I was chuffed by this because that’s where my father worked at the time,” he said.

The National Library of Ireland said they were delighted to have identified the boy as they plan on using the image in the upcoming JFK Homecoming exhibition.

Read: Can you name this little boy smiling at JFK during his visit to Ireland in 1963?>

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