It is two years since we produced a newsletter so this one is packed full of information about our activities in 2006 and 2007 and what’s to come in 2008. Lets hope there is something here to interest you!

Background Information

Leixlip Town Twinning Association was set up in 1993 on the initiative of the then Leixlip Town Commissioners now the Town Council. It is independent of the Town Council but receives tremendous support from it both financial and practical. The Cathaoirleach of the Town Council is the President of the Association and two Councillors are nominated to the Twinning Committee every year.

We twinned with Bressuire, France in 1996 and with Niles, USA in 1999 and have engaged in a wide range of activities with them and other towns over the years. All of these activities have succeeded in helping us achieve the main aim of twinning worldwide – better relations between peoples.

This newsletter contains a brief account of what we have been doing over the past two years. Enjoy it!

Bressuire Activities

Visit by Walking Group May 2006
A group of 55 young people and their teachers visited Ireland in May 2006 on a walking tour. They arrived in their coach by boat to Cork and spent some time visiting Cork, Kerry, Clare and Galway before arriving in Leixlip on 17th May. They slept on the floor of the clubhouse in Barnhall and the town Twinning Committee organised some activities for them. They linked up with scouts from the 1st/10th unit under leader David Coyne, who brought them on a walking tour of Leixlip. Desmond Guinness also welcomed them to the Castle and showed them around. They spent a day in Dublin and we hosted a barbecue for them in Barnhall before they left.

Conviviales d’Automne/Autumn Festival 2006
We celebrated the 10th anniversary of our twinning with Bressuire in October 2006 and a group of 52 people travelled to France for the celebrations. They comprised 20 dancers from Scoil Rince Mobhí, 11 members of Leixlip branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, two singers, Phyllis Howlett artist with the Rye Valley Artists, Town Council Cathaoirleach Sean Purcell, Town Manager Peter Minnock, Town Clerk Ann Heffernan and members of the Twinning Committee. The events over the weekend included a civic reception at the Town Hall, an exhibition of paintings and photographs in the Castle with pieces from the Rye Valley Artists and Celbridge Camera Club, the naming of a roundabout for Leixlip and two gala concerts at which the singers, dancers and musicians performed. Paul Kelly also presented a photographic show of our activities over the 10 years. We presented the Mayor of Bressuire with an enlarged aerial photograph of Leixlip and the Twinning Committee with a bursary of €300 to be given to a young person of their choice to spend on a trip to Leixlip. They gave the bursary to the two business students who spent time in Leixlip in July 2007.

Celtic Festival June 2007
We attended the bi-annual Celtic Festival in 2007 and were represented by eight members of the Lord Edward’s Own Narraghmore Pipe Band and some members of the Twinning Committee.

Conviviales d’Automne/Autumn Festival 2007
A delegation of six people attended the Bressuire Autumn Festival from 19th to 22nd October 2007. They were guests of the Association of Twinnings at a gala dinner on the Friday night and joined Committee Chairman Arnaud Gellé and his wife Gladys at their home on Saturday. They attended the various activities celebrating the 25th anniversary of the twinning of Bressuire and Mequinenza Spain over the weekend and a meeting on Sunday afternoon to plan future activities.

Visits to Leixlip
In February 2007 Bressuire Rugby Club Chairman Pierre Bellamy and his wife Francoise came to Ireland for the 6 Nations Rugby Match between Ireland and France. They stayed with Paul Kelly before departing on a trip to Galway. The Twinning Committee met them for a drink in the Salmon Leap before their departure.

Deputy Mayor Philippe Robin and a colleague were in Dublin for a business trip in June 2007. They stayed in the Springfield Hotel and some members of the twinning Committee met them for dinner in the Courtyard Hotel.

Student Work Placements
We had seven requests from Bressuire students in 2006 for work placements in Leixlip. We succeeded in finding three such placements. Antoine Turpault worked in the Ryevale Tavern for nearly three months and stayed with Niall & Jenny Kenny in Mill Lane. He supplemented his wages by busking in Grafton St. and he joined Donal Fallon in Dunboyne several times where he played the accordian. Severine Giret worked in the Courtyard Hotel for two months and stayed in Cedar Park. Paul Regnier came for the month of August and worked in the Liffey Champion. He also stayed in Cedar Park with Celia Coleman.

We had two requests from Leixlip students for work placements in Bressuire in 2006. Ciara Daly spent some time working on an ostrich farm and Cathal Moran found work in McDonalds.

In 2007 we had requests from two business students from Bressuire for a 6-week placement required by their college. Elisa Mary worked in Leixlip Amenities Centre on the front desk and Audrey Turpeau worked for the Town Council in the Town Clerk’s office from 21st May to 29th June. We also placed Sandrine Tatin in the Ryevale Tavern for two months. In September we had a request from nurse Nadeje Guellot for a two-week stay in Leixlip to improve her English as she wished to work abroad with Médicines Sans Frontieres. She stayed with Celia Coleman in Cedar Park and Maria Roche and Mary Foley helped her with her language skills.

The school exchange between Coláiste Chiaráin and Lycée St. Joseph took place in 2007. 16 Leixlip students travelled to Bressuire from 9th to 16th February and 33 Bressuire students made the return visit from 29th April to 9th May

Niles Activities

In May 2006 Niles Village Manager MaryKay Morrissey, her husband George and daughters Colleen and Meghan, came to Ireland on a holiday. They spent several days in Leixlip before their return home. They stayed in the Springfield Hotel and the Town Twinning Committee hosted a dinner for them in the Amber Regent restaurant.

Also in May 2006 Town Twinning Chairman Paul Kelly and his daughters Helena and Blaise spent a week in Niles and attended a dinner hosted by the Mayor and Village Trustees.

In July 2006 Trustee Bart Murphy, his wife Carolyn and extended family visited Ireland for a holiday and spent an evening in the Salmon Leap Inn with members of the Town Twinning Committee.

Twinning Committee member Maria Roche and members of her family were in America on holidays in July and spent a night in Niles en route. They too were treated to dinner by the Board of Trustees.

September 2006 saw the Ryder Cup come to Kildare and Brian Murphy, son of Bart, was here with several friends. The Twinning Committee met them for dinner in Da Vinci’s restaurant and for drinks afterwards in the Ryevale Tavern.

The Niles Sister Cities Committees host a fund raising event each November called A Taste of Sister Cities and in 2006 Paul Kelly attended and observed a very successful event at which $12,500 was raised.

In February 2007 Niles Police Commander Dennis McEnerney came on a golfing holiday to Ballybunion and before his return home spent some days with Tom and Mary Foley. He joined members of the twinning committee in the Salmon Leap one evening.

Fund Raising

The Town Twinning Committee ran a successful Race Night on 11th May 2006 in St. Mary’s GAA Club making over €1,700 profit.

We are also grateful to Leixlip Town Council for a grant of €5,000 in 2006 and €7,000 in 2007.

Other Activities

Committee members Enda Roche and Ria Flom were married in 2006 and were presented with a fondue set by the Twinning Committee.

Mary Foley resigned as Secretary in November 2006 and was replaced by Maria Roche.

Committee members Dave Byrne and Patricia Costelloe resigned early in 2007 and the Committee is very grateful to them for their hard work and commitment over the years. They have been replaced by new members Sean Kavanagh, Jenny Kenny and Marian Lyons.

A former Leixlip student who spent some time on work placement in Lycée St. Joseph, Bressuire, Catherine Lawless of Riverdale, was married in July 2007 and her wedding in Cork was attended by three teachers from Bressuire.

Leixlip Festival 2007

The Festival in June 2007 was host to representatives of both our twin towns. 13 baton twirlers from Bressuire ranging in age from 9 to 27 and accompanied by two members of the twinning committee, entertained us all on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. A four person jazz band from Notre Dame High School in Niles also provided great entertainment both afternoons. They were accompanied by one of their teachers, new Village Manager George Van Geem and his wife Linda, Trustee Louella Preston and her husband John and Police Commander Dennis McEnerney. Leixlip Town Manager Peter Minnock and Town Clerk Ann Heffernan brought George, Linda, Louella and John on a tour of Kildare on their first day followed by dinner in Moyglare Manor. Also included in the activities was golf, shopping and a visit to Dublin. The Town Council hosted a dinner in Confey GAA Club and presented the visitors with bog oak. The Twinning Committee presented paintings by Mary Ryan and Phyllis Howlett. The visitors also planted two trees in the grounds of Newtown House to celebrate the twinning between the towns.

Future Activities

We are invited by our friends in Bressuire to organise a holiday in Bressuire for anyone who is interested. They would like us to spend some time in their region exploring the Loire Valley, the local chateaux and vineyards, the beautiful harbour town of La Rochelle or the beaches of Les Sables d’Olonne. Also in the vicinity is Futuroscope and Puy de Feu. Anyone who is interested should contact us at any committee member.

We hope to set up an e-penfriend exchange with students in Bressuire and both Scoil Uí Dhálaigh and Scoil San Carlo have expressed interest.

We are flattered to be asked to be involved in the annual Bressuire Trade Fair (Foire Expo) in 2011. It is a large international event and it is hoped that Ireland will be the theme that year. We are planning an exploratory visit to the next Fair in March 2008 at which Brazil is the theme.

We hope to take part in the Niles Taste of Sister Cities event in November 2008 and to provide all the entertainment at it. We will be looking for musicians, dancers and singers so again, if you are interested, just let us know.

Already we have been asked to find work for three Bressuire students for summer 2008 so if you can help we would be more than grateful.

Twinning Committee Members

Twinning Committee Members

Paul Kelly Chairman 6243624
Maria Roche Secretary 6242340
Aidan Griffin Treasurer 6247155
Councillors Sean Purcell & Kevin O’Connor, Bridie Feeney, Joyce Hipwell, Marie Kearney, Brian Wynne, Una Duggan, Paddy Lennon, Jarlath Daly, Marian Lyons, Sean Kavanagh, Jenny Kenny, Mary Foley

A Big Word of Thanks is due to all the people who helped us over the past two years. These include the families who hosted visitors, employers who provided jobs for students, the various clubs who allowed us use their facilities, the pubs, hotels and restaurants who looked after us so well, the Town Council for their support and the people of Leixlip who made all our visitors feel so welcome.