'It's surreal' – Irish PM Leo Varadkar visits site of JFK's assassination in Dallas

'It's surreal' – Irish PM Leo Varadkar visits site of JFK's assassination in Dallas

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has visited the site of President John F Kennedy's infamous assassination in Dallas, Texas.

The Irish PM remarked that it felt "a bit surreal” as he looked out of a window of the Texas School Book Depository – where Lee Harvey Oswald is thought to have shot President Kennedy from on November 22, 1963.

Mr Varadkar added: “It’s the kind of place that you hear about and read about so much.”

The Taoiseach visited the building, which is now a museum dedicated to the first-ever Irish-American President, on the second day of his St Patrick’s Day trade mission to the US.

Two white crosses mark the spot on Dealey Plaza where the fatal shots struck Kennedy as he travelled with wife Jackie through Dallas in an open-topped presidential limousine.

Lee Harvey Oswald is believed to have opened fire from the sixth floor of the Book Depository Building, before also fatally shooting Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit 45 minutes later.

Local nightclub owner Jack Ruby shot Oswald dead in police custody two days later – sparking thousands of conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination.

Along on the JFK tour with Varadkar was Irish ambassador to the US Dan Mulhall – most recently a former ambassador to Britain.

Mr Varadkar had previously visited the eternal flame at JFK’s grave in Washington DC, while earlier today he visited the Choctaw Native American reservation in Oklahoma to thank them for their ancestors' help during the Irish Famine.

The Choctaw Nation raised $170, equal to thousands in today's money, and sent it to Ireland in 1847.

The Taoiseach said Irish and Choctaw people share "a sacred bond" which has "joined our peoples together for all time".

He added: “Back in the nineteenth century, when the Irish people were oppressed, abused, neglected and degraded by our colonial master, at our lowest, your spirit of generosity was at its highest.

“You showed compassion to a starving people, who were dying in their hundreds of thousands, or about to embark on our own ‘Trail of Tears’ across the Atlantic Ocean to seek a new life in Canada or the United States."