French Lamorlaye visitors are twinning group guests

French Lamorlaye visitors are twinning group guests

7 August 2019

NEWRY, Mourne and Down Council chairman Charlie Casey welcomed a party of visitors from Lamorlaye in France recently. 

The visit was organised in association with the Rowallane and Slieve Croob Community Twinning Group with guests staying in Ballynahinch and hosted by local families in Rowallane and Slieve Croob districts.

Their stay followed a visit by the Deputy Mayor of Lamorlaye, Madame Yasmine Chani, earlier this year. 

The Lamorlaye community twinning partnership was set up primarily with Ballynahinch, Drumaness and the Spa in 1998.

Over the years, many school groups and members from the local community have participated in cultural, linguistic, equine, sporting and business exchanges and organised joint trips to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the European Commission in Brussels, to Slovenia, the Czech Republic and the south of Ireland.

Over the three days, the French visitors were treated to a busy schedule which included a visit to the historic Down Cathedral, the Saint Patrick Centre and Down County Museum.

The group was taken on a tour of the County Down coastline to see Ardglass, St John’s Point Lighthouse, Killough, Newcastle and Slieve Croob. The group was also taken on a walking tour of Montalto Estate in Ballynahinch.

The Rowallane and Slieve Croob Community Twinning Group also organised a charity garden party to enable the visitors to meet their friends from the Rowallane and Slieve Croob areas in an informal setting, which included the council’s deputy chairman, Terry Andrews, and concluded with a rousing performance of La Marseillaise.

Cllr Casey welcomed the French delegation with a reception at the Millbrook Lodge Hotel, Ballynahinch.

He said: “The main objectives of the three-year plan of the twinning arrangement are to organise healthy activities and events, bring generations together in experiencing two fabulous cultures and share our heritage with partners from all over the south of Ireland, west of Scotland, Galacia in Spain, Wales, the Isle of Man and Brittany.

“As part of our council’s strategic objectives, we are striving to become a premier tourism destination on the island of Ireland, and empowering and improving the capacity of our communities.

He told the visitors: “These objectives could not have been achieved without the continued support we have received from initiatives such as twinning arrangements.

“From visiting the area and investing in our local businesses, to bringing different cultural experiences to the citizens of our district through various projects, I would like to thank you.”

He added: “Our mission as a council is to lead and serve a district that is prosperous, healthy and sustainable.

“I am pleased to have you all here to celebrate the 21 years of this twinning arrangement. We can be proud of how far we have come to achieving this, in building a united, culturally diverse community together.”