DUBLIN—He was an American politician but an Irish hero.
In Ireland, Sen. Edward Kennedy is remembered as the man who helped bring prosperity to the south, peace to the divided north - and pride in an Irish-American success story.
"He was an Irishman in the corridors of Washington," said Luke McAdams, 35, a management consultant from Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
In the Kennedys, he said, Irish people saw a family that "always have half an eye toward Ireland in whatever they do."
The impact of the Kennedys is immense in a country where pictures of the family adorn thousands of homes and where many people have avidly followed the glamorous, tragic clan that - in
John F. Kennedy - put the first Roman Catholic in the White House.
Edward Kennedy, who died Tuesday of brain cancer, was mourned by world leaders and ordinary citizens from Johannesburg to Rome. But the remembrances were especially strong in Ireland, the Kennedys' ancestral home.
"Farewell to the last Prince of Camelot," the front page of Thursday's Irish Independent newspaper blared.
The Kennedys did bring a touch of royal flair to the Irish Republic, their many visits a combination of homecoming and triumphal procession.
In Dublin, the verdict was nearly unanimous.
"He was a great friend of this country," said Gerry Keating, 69. It was hard to find anyone who would disagree, whether among the Guinness drinkers in a Dublin pub or within Ireland's political elite.
"Ted Kennedy knew and loved Ireland - its people, its music, its culture," said Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin. "As the embodiment of the Irish immigrant story, his special dedication to the peace process was unrivaled and deeply held."
Many here also speak warmly of Kennedy's sister, Jean Kennedy Smith, who was the U.S. ambassador to Ireland for five years under
President Bill Clinton and played her own role in the Northern Ireland peace process.
While Edward Kennedy will forever be remembered as JFK's younger brother, he was also a power broker who mobilized Irish Americans and their political views on Northern Ireland - a kingmaker whose actions helped lay the groundwork for a lasting peace accord.
"He lived to see two great chasms bridged, between Catholic and Protestant in Northern Ireland and between black and white in his own United States," said former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.
President Mary McAleese said Kennedy would be remembered in Ireland "as a hugely important friend to this country during the very difficult times."
Kennedy was a strong supporter of the Irish nationalist cause, and in the 1970s called for British troops to leave Northern Ireland - to the immense annoyance of Britain. But he also condemned the violence of the Irish Republican Army - a stance not always popular with Irish Americans. Kennedy became a key American promoter of peace, urging Britain to negotiate with the IRA-linked party Sinn Fein as he also reached out to Protestant Unionists.
"Much of the work he did was behind the scenes," said Nigel Bowles, director of the American Institute at Oxford University. "But he was remarkably effective in building bridges there, as he was in the United States. He did a lot of work in private conversation with key players in Northern Ireland politics and I suspect that his role in Northern Ireland is probably more important in the long run than is generally acknowledged."