PHOTO: BARRY MCCALL
Page Turner / Edited by Peter McDermott
History records that the top news event for June 26, 1963 was the “Ich bin ein Berliner!” speech given by the American president in West Berlin. But for Irish people, it was John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s flight to Dublin that evening and his triumphant motorcade through the capital’s streets. Before his departure from Shannon Airport four days later, the president said: “I wish I could stay for another week, or another month.”
A few years ago, Ryan Tubridy, the host of RTÉ’s iconic “The Late Late Show,” wrote a popular and critically well-received account of those magical few days in 1963. Now, he has followed up with a children’s book that re-imagines JFK’s visit “as seen through the eyes of a young boy named Patrick.” The Wexford youngster decides he will do anything he can to meet the president – and even to shake his hand.
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Tubridy’s collaborator on “Patrick and the President” (which the publishers suggest might best suit 6- to 9-year-olds) is P.J. Lynch, who was named the fourth Irish Children’s Laureate in 2016 and is considered one of the most accomplished children’s book creators working internationally today. There’s more about Lynch here.
Date of birth: May 28, 1973
Place of birth: Dublin
Children: Two gorgeous daughters
Residence: By the sea
Published works: “JFK in Ireland,” “The Irish Are Coming” and “Patrick and the President.”
What is your writing routine? Are there ideal conditions?
Quiet please and a good pen! Nothing else required.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
When you get to the point that you don’t want to keep going? Keep going!
Name three books that are memorable in terms of your reading pleasure.
“Star of the Sea” by Joseph O’Connor; “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro; “Easter Parade” by Richard Yates.
What book are you currently reading?
“The Girl Before” – JP Delaney.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl.
Name a book that you were pleasantly surprised by.
“The Testament of Mary” by Colm Tóibín.
If you could meet one author, living or dead, who would it be?
I’d love a chat with Suetonius about the Twelve Caesars.
What book changed your life?
“The Chronicle of the Twentieth Century” sparked a love of modern history and pop culture.
What is your favorite spot in Ireland?
A sing-song with the family at the Abbeyglen Castle in Clifden, Co. Galway, followed by a brisk walk on Dog’s Bay the next day to walk it off!
You’re Irish if…
You laugh while others are still trying to get the joke.