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The Boston Globe

Metro

JFK: 50 years later | Kevin Cullen

More than a president was lost to time that day

In 1848, Patrick Kennedy looked across the moonscape that was Dunganstown, in County Wexford. It was littered with dead potatoes and dead neighbors and so he, like a million others, decided to leave.

As the Famine Irish prepared to leave their homeland, they held long, forlorn farewells, something they called wakes, because the presumption was that whoever was sailing away was dead to Ireland. They would never return.

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