Camelot comes to Trim on Sunday when two members of the American political dynasty, the Kennedy clan, officially open 'Dear Dot', an exhibition on the life and times of Dot Tubridy.
Subtitled 'Trim, Ireland and the Kennedy Clan', the exhibition will show letters, photographs, and showjumping memorabilia associated with the late Dot Tubridy and her husband, Captain Michael Tubridy, an Irish showjumper who died in a riding accident at Trimblestown Stud, Kildalkey, in 1953.
The Tubridys had become friends with Robert and Ethel Kennedy through Michael's showjumping, and the Kennedys invited Dot to America after her husband's death, beginning an enduring lifetime friendship with the entire clan.
Dot Tubridy was appointed Waterford Glass representative in the United States following her husband’s death, and became a high profile ambassador for Ireland and its tourism and fashion industry on American TV and radio. She was an attractive young woman who used her public relations skills to promote the country to the highest level, and it was her idea to present a crystal bowl to the President of the United States in the White House every St Patrick’s Day.
She also became deeply involved in the Kennedy family’s election campaigns, from Senator John F Kennedy’s race for the Democratic Party nomination, to Edward Kennedy’s presidential bid in 1980. She was by their side for the highs and the lows, through the Camelot years in the White House, attending the presidential inauguration, accompanying the President and his sisters on their Irish visit, through to the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, family tragedies, and election wins and losses.
Among the items in the exhibition are Dot’s Ib Jorgenson ball gown from the JFK inauguration ball, and Captain Tubridy's showjumping trophies, as well as letters from Jack, Bobby, Ethel, Jackie and Ted Kennedy.
Dot's God-daughter, Courtney Kennedy Hill, daughter of Bobby and Ethel, and Sydney Kennedy Lawford McKelvy, daughter of Patricia Kennedy and Peter Lawford, will be in Trim Visitor Centre to open the exhibition that marks the first anniversary of Dot's death. Sunday will begin with private viewing of the exhibition in the morning for the Kennedys and the Gibsons, Dot Tubridy's grandchildren.
There will be a motorcade to the visitor centre for a 12.30pm official opening.
A memorial dinner in the Stockhouse, featuring singers Kevin Fagan and Danielle Williamson, will be followed by a Gluais concert in Knightsbrook Hotel at 7.30pm, where there will be a presentation of specially commissioned Waterford Crystal pieces to the Kennedys.
A special tour of Trim Castle is arranged on Saturday at 12.30pm where historical characters will be brought to life in costume to greet the Kennedys. Music will be performed by Leah Barniville.