Bannalec / Castleisland Twinning Project Prepares for 10th Anniversary

The colours of the festival in St. Goustan on the day the visitors arrived.
The colours of the festival in St. Goustan on the day the visitors arrived.

A group of eight people representing the Castleisland/Sliabh Luachra Town Twinning Group travelled to Bannalec in Brittany recently.

The group had an excellent time during its stay with a number of trips and events organised by the Bannalec Twinning Committee – according to spokesman John O’Donoghue.

The trip began in Cork from where they flew to Nantes Airport to be greeted by representatives of the Bannalec Twinning Association.

A leisurely drive through Brittany took in a lunch stop at a small port town named Saint-Goustan where there was a festival that included boats jousting on the river.

A Scene to Behold

It was a colourful scene to behold with families and friends celebrating and parading in costumes with a nautical theme and indeed there were a few mermaids ‘walking’ the cobbled streets as well. After that there was a rendezvous in the Bannalec Community Hall where each guest met their host family.

St. Anne D'Auray Cathedral
St. Anne D’Auray Cathedral.

After refreshments everyone went to their accommodation and later that evening met up with other locals of the town at a ‘Dinner of Pardon’ which was taking place near the tiny Chapel of Saint Anne. There is a celebration on the last Sunday of July every year to mark the Sainte-Anne d’Auray feast day.

A great night of food and music and get-together was had by all and the weather was kind on that evening.

Visits to Beautiful Towns

Locals and visitors enjoying the forest walk and talk.
Locals and visitors enjoying the forest walk and talk.

The next days were spent in various ways. There were visits to beautiful towns such as: Douarmenez; Locronan; Concarneau and of course Pont –Aven.

The guests were introduced to diverse activities such as boat building, historical church visits and a 5km walk in the countryside. This was after a very informative ecological talk about the progress of the area around Bannalec over the last 45 years in developing and maintaining a good clean water supply.

The efforts by the local people to achieve this was very informative and a great success story, which remains ongoing.

Thanks to Gilbert Duigou, Marcel Jambou and Youen Landrein for the information provided on a ‘much like Ireland’ rainy summer’s morning. This was followed by a lovely picnic which had to be held indoors due to the inclement weather, but a great time was had by all, after which the long walk in the woods was led by Gilbert Duigou and by which time the weather had cleared.

A Gala Dinner

A gala dinner was enjoyed on Tuesday evening and, on Wednesday evening the group and the local twinning group were hosted in the house of Gilbert and Janet Duigou where a variety of local fare was on offer and a wonderful array of French breads, home-made savoury and sweet foods and local beverages were enjoyed by one and all.

On Thursday the group left Bannalec by way of a train to St. Malo where they spent two sunny days and nights in this wonderful old city.

On Saturday they left for Nantes to spend one night there before returning to Castleisland on Sunday.

So, all in all it was a very enjoyable twinning exchange. As always the people of Bannalec are very hospitable towards the twinning group and take pride in their arrangement with the group from the Castleisland area.

New Members Welcome

The year 2017 will mark the 10th anniversary of the signing of the charter between the two towns and we look forward to receiving a group from Bannalec to Castleisland next year.

The ongoing, twinning project is open to anyone who is interested in making new friends and experiencing Breton and French culture.

If anyone would like more information about the project or partake in future twinning events please email: or phone: John on 087 24 62 098 or Hugh on 085 17 40 677.

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