Sunday, March 17, 2019

Twinning completes a 'dream' ... and all the Parade pictures

Twinning with Kilcullen was the completion of a 'dream' the Mayor of Saint-Contest in Normandy said today after the official signing of the Twinning Charter between the two towns, writes Brian Byrne.

Stephanie Yon-Courtin told those present at the ceremony in the Heritage Centre that when she became mayor four years ago, she and her councillors had decided that they would twin with an Irish town during the course of their administration. Now that was completed.

The Mayor of the Naas Municipal District, Cllr Billy Hillis, signed the Charter on Kilcullen's behalf.

The Saint-Contest mayor thanked Nessa Dunlea and the Kilcullen Twinning Committee for being a 'bridge' between the two communities during the process. She added that such an event is very important in 'the troubled times we are living in'.

"It is an affirmation of friendship and human values, which we all need. It is like this magnificent bridge in Kilcullen, it gathers together two different towns through one road. There are many ways of friendship, many ways of understanding, in a true spirit of European fraternity."

She hoped it would result in concrete ways of cooperation which would especially bring the young people of the communities together through 'communication and change'. "It is for the adults as well," she continued, noting that the initial contact had been made through common interests in the equine industry.

"There are no words to express what we are feeling today, it is like living a dream, a dream that we thought of four years ago when we took over the governance of Saint-Contest. Vive Irlande, vive Kilcullen, vive Saint-Contest!"

Entertainment for the occasion was provided by the Landers School of Dancing and by harpist Leah O'Sullivan.

A presentation of a leather portfolio and matching memento book was made to Mayor Yon-Courtin, designed and provided by local leather goods company Carve-On Ltd. Nessa Dunlea, as chair of the Twinning Group, thanked the company for their contribution and participation in the event. The book was inscribed with the names of the twinning groups from each of the towns. The event concluded with the singing of the French and Irish national anthems, and then the visitors were invited to take part in some Irish dancing.

Earlier the French visitors had taken part in the Kilcullen St Patrick's Day Parade, and subsequently viewed the rest of the Parade from the stand on the square.

The Parade had floats and marchers from some 40 sports and community groups, as well as schools and businesses. Led by a Defence Forces colour party, the event had a very international flavour with drumming and dancing from the Kildare Filipino Community adding an amazing sound and colour to the occasion.

There were also several groups of local residents from other countries, marching with their home flags. Particularly innovative floats were entered by the Auntie Anne's Country Creche, Nolan's Butchers, Kilcullen Community Action, and Kilcullen GAA which is celebrating its own 130th anniversary this year.

The Overall Winner was the music and dance presentation by the Kildare Filipino Community, while Nolan's Butchers won the Best Business award. The Best Group was the Geraldine School of Dancing and Kilcullen GAA won the Best Club.

All the Diary's photos from the day can be seen here.

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