This arboretum is named after U.S. president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The name Fitzgerald came to Ireland with the Norman knight Maurice Fitzgerald in 1169. The grounds of the arboretum provide a space for education, leisure and exercise. The Normans enjoyed a number of leisure activities which varied depending on a person’s social class.
A Matter of Class
Norman knights and lords could afford to spend time and money entertaining themselves. Some landowners created large enclosed parks much like this arboretum. These Norman parks were stocked with fallow deer which were imported from England in the early 13th century. As well as hunting, other popular activities among the wealthier classes included feasting and competing in tournaments. Poorer people spent most of their time working. The little leisure time they did have was occupied by free entertainment such as storytelling, dancing and singing as well as outdoor games like early Gaelic football and hurling. Religious holy days, or holidays, provided an opportunity for local communities to congregate and engage in seasonal celebrations.
The tournaments enjoyed by the Norman nobility were spectacular events which involved one-to-one ‘jousts’ on horseback as well as mock battles. Tournaments often involved real weapons and participating knights could be seriously injured or even killed.
To find John F. Kennedy Arboretum…
Type these coordinates into Google: 52.322181, -6.931606
To the West along the Way lies… The Kennedy Homestead
To the East along the Way lies… Kilmokea