The twentieth anniversary of successful town twinning between Carrickmacrosss and Carhaix was celebrated in the Breton town over the Easter week-end in the presence of a large group of Irish visitors, including members of the local Comhaltas group.
The group of traditional musicians, singers and dancers accompanied by members of the local twinning committee arrived in Carhaix on Friday afternoon to be greeted by their hosts for the week-end. Their arrival was marked by a Pancake Supper and a traditional Fest-noz or musical evening.
The formal part of the visit took place on Saturday and was hosted by the Mayor of the town, Mr. Christian Troadec. He congratulated the members of the committees in both towns for their work since 1996 and promised to come to Carrickmacross in October as part of the return visit. Ms. Frances Matthews replied on behalf of the Municipal Authority. In doing so she thanked the people for their warm welcome and apologised for the unavoidable absence of the chairman, P.J. O’ Hanlon.
The President of the Carhaix Twinning Committee, Marie-Louise Huiban, welcomed the Irish visitors to Carhaix and spoke about the various groups and individuals that had visited her town in the past twenty years. She had a particular word of welcome for the Comhaltas group and she looked forward to her visit to Carrickmacross in October.
The President of the Carrickmacross Committee, Sean Egan, thanked the Breton hosts for the welcome received and stated that over eight hundred people had benefitted from this initiative to date. He looked forward to the next twenty years and expressed his confidence that the twinning process would continue to flourish between the two towns.
The two officials then signed the international protocol which commits both local authorities to support the continued development of links between Carrickmacross and Carhaix. The exchange of gifts to mark the anniversary followed while the local choral group entertained the gathering with a Breton song followed by the European anthem, Ode to Joy, and the Irish Blessing.
The Mayor and local council hosted the formal reception and meal on Saturday evening for the Carrick visitors. The entertainment was provided by the Irish musicians with an impromptu session to round off the evening.
On Sunday the group visited Chateauneuf de Loup for the spring festival, one of the largest such festivals in Brittany. Despite the unspring-like weather a large crowd gathered to experience the best of Irish music. The audience were highly entertained by the music, singing and dancing and what was supposed to be a thirty minute session turned into a three hour one instead.
Following some time with the host families on Monday morning, the group assembled once again on Monday afternoon for some music workshops before the final farewell concert. This concert was held in the hall in the town centre and the organisers were taken by surprise when such a large crowd turned up once again to hear and see the Carrickmacross group. The concert featured a mix of Irish and Breton music played by musicians from both areas. The tunes were exchanged last year and both groups had been practising for this big concert. This certainly paid off as the performers put on a magnificent display of all that is best in both traditions. The credit for this must go to Finian McCluskey and his team from Carrickmacross and Frederic Mulhauser along with Hoela and Kevin from Carhaix.
The group left Carhaix on Tuesday morning and arrived back in Carrickmacross by late afternoon. Plans are already in train for a return visit from the Breton group in 2018. Further information on the trip can be got by visiting the Facebook pages of Le Telegramme Carhaix, Comite de Jumelage Carhaix Carrickmacross and Ecole de Musique du Poher.
Carrickmacross welcomed a school group from College de St. Tremeur to the town on Wednesday. They visited the Workhouse and the local church before a lunch-stop at the Shirley Arms Hotel. Afterwards they spent some time in the Lace Gallery and many local shops before returning to Dublin to continue their Irish visit. This was the fourth time that a group from the school had come to Carrickmacross and the pupils and staff were delighted with the warm reception from the people of the town.
The next twinning activity will be in October when the U-17 soccer team will visit Carrickmacross to play for the Twinning Cup. The local committee are already making plans for this trip.
A retired couple from the Carhaix area wish to do a house swap in September, 2016 with a similar couple from the Carrickmacross area. They would like to spend about two weeks in the area. They don’t mind whether it’s in the town or countryside because they will have their own car. Are you interested? If so, please contact Sean at 0876816011.