Home of John F Kennedy's great-great grandmother discovered in undergrowth in County Limerick
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Home of John F Kennedy's great-great grandmother discovered in undergrowth in County Limerick

THE HOUSE where former US President John F Kennedy's Irish ancestors were born has been discovered hidden in undergrowth in County Limerick.

The crumbling remains of the stone cottage were discovered by county council workers last week as they cleared a new path near the town of Bruff.

According to The Irish Independent, the stone ruin of the modest cottage was once home to Mary Lenihan, Kennedy's great-great grandmother.

She later moved from the house after marrying neighbour Edmund Fitzgerald, whose surname became the Irish-American's middle name.

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John Fitzgerald Kennedy's middle name pays tribute to his roots in County Limerick [Source: IFI Player]
The cottage has been considered lost for decades; the former US President's Sligo connections were well documented, but this new discovery is the first solid remnant of Kennedy's Limerick ancestry.

Mary Lenihan died shortly after giving birth to a daughter, Mary Fitzgerald, who is John F Kennedy's great-grandmother, and Edmund Fitzgerald emigrated to Boston shortly after the Great Hunger of the mid-1800's.

Speaking to The Irish Independent, fifth cousin of the late JFK, Michael Fitzgerald, who still lives near Bruff, said the discovery was "marvellous".

"It's some record," he said. "There are very few buildings still standing after 200 years."

And Mark Nagle, chairman of Bruff Community Council, said it was "ironic" the discovery was made in the same week another prevalent Irish-American was elected into the White House.

"It's ironic that the time the house is uncovered coincides with a week when the whole of Ireland is transfixed by the election in the US and a win for another Irish-American whose ancestors left just after the Famine as well," he told the outlet.

The newly-discovered ancestral cottage is currently in ruin, with trees and plants growing through the floors, but the foundations of the historic stone cottage remains intact, including the property's original wooden door.

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The council are continuing to clear a new pathway through the countryside, and the historic discovery is likely to draw tourists from home and abroad.