Promoting Killarney in the true spirit of friendship

OPINION: Killarney has built up very strong bonds with towns and cities around the globe through the work of the Town Twinning Association.

This year alone groups visited from several twin locations, including Germany, France and the United States of America, and the highlight was the inaugural International Town Twinning and Sister City Golf Tournament which saw Killarney welcome 48 guests.
Here, Killarney Town Twinning Association Chairman, Sean Counihan, reflects on a very production 12-month period

DURING 2019 we had a very busy and constructive year, maintaining our sister city and twinning association relationships.

Mayor of Killarney Cllr Michael Gleeson (seated, second from right) and Killarney Town Twinning Association Chairman Sean Connihan (seated, left) with a group of golfers from Tauves in France

Pleinfeld, Germany: Our collaboration began in March when we hosted over 40 people from Pleinfeld for the first of three visits planned for Killarney this year, with 30 people expected on each trip. Over the last number of years this has been our most active association in terms of bringing tourist numbers to Killarney.

A two-person delegation from our association went to Pleinfeld, at their own expense, to promote the inaugural twining golf tournament and also to present the Killarney St Patrick’s Day parade award to Hummels folk group, who won the overseas musical award.

We will welcome two groups of students and their teachers in early 2020 and 2021 under the Erasmus Plus programme. One of the students from last year’s programme spent the summer working in the hotel where she had her placement.

Concord, USA: A large group from Concord visited in June, led by the former President of the Concord Sister City Association, Rosemary Loftus, who continues to look at innovative ways for collaboration between Killarney and Concord.

The delegation from Concord with Killarney Town Twinning Committee Chairman, Sean Counihan (front, left), and committee members Sheila Dickson, Sheila Casey and Michael O’Leary

Scottsdale, USA: Our association with Scottsdale continues and we were very pleased that an article we submitted in relation to Killarney Golf and Fishing Club and Killarney featured in the Shamrock Magazine in Arizona. This publication has a membership of 18,000 golfers. Killarney will be represented in Scottsdale in January where our group will meet with Twinning Association board members.

Mertyl Beach, USA: As chairman, I met with a number of people from Mertyl Beach and new contacts have resulted in a renewed interest in reinvigorating the association.

International Golf Tournament: The highlight for the Killarney Twinning Association this year was the successful hosting of the inaugural international golf tournament. We had visitors from our association twin towns of Tauves in France, and participants representing Castiglione, Pleinfeld, Scottsdale and Casperia, Italy.

Our association visitors from Casperia included the current Mayor Marco Cusso, along with the former mayor of Casperia, chairperson and members of the twinning association.

Killarney Town Twinning Association members Sean Counihan (back, far right) and Michael O’Leary (back, second from left) presenting the St Patrick’s Day parade award to the Friends of Killarney Association in Pleinfeld

Our 48 guests for the golf tournament and other outings enjoyed their stay and as Chairperson of Killarney Town Twining Association, I would like to acknowledge the help, support and assistance of the hardworking association committee members, hotels and restaurants who accommodated our guests with preferential rates.

Gratitude is also extended to Killarney Golf and Fishing Club, Dooks and the other Kerry golf courses who accommodated the golfers.

We acknowledge too the assistance given by Kerry County Council in the form of the county community funding.

Next year’s activities include our continued collaboration with Killarney Convention Bureau in acquiring the Highland Games which will be held in Killarney in June.

This is being done in conjunction with our sister city association in Springfield, USA and it will be one of the highlights for the coming year. A number of our associations have indicated that they will support this event next year.

We will continue to promote Killarney and its environs in the true spirit of friendship with all we meet through the Killarney Twinning Association and with our twinned town and sister city associations.

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