Bannalec and Castleisland Twinning Association AGM on Friday Evening at 7:30pm

At the Castleisland and Sliabh Luachra / Bannalec Twinning dedicated area in Castleisland Library and Civic Offices in 2017 were front: Sheila O’Donoghue, Margaret Cahill, Hugh O’Connell, Bertha O’Sullivan and John O’Donoghue. Back: Margaret Griffin, Lizette Olliver, Jean Paul Toulgoat, Bernard and Annette Millere, Daniel Olliver, Babette Salaun, Patrick and Martine Pennaguer, Roger Carnot, Ginette Duigou, Florence Carnot, Gilbert Duigou, Loisianne Boianet, Joseph Le Gall, Didier Salaun and Philipe Boianet. Photograph: Courtesy of the Castleisland / Sliabh Luachra Twinning Committee.

The annual general meeting of the twinning of Bannalec and

In the beginning: Sliabh Luachra ADM manager, Eamon O’Reilly (left) and Bank of Ireland manager, John O’Donoghue explored and found similarities between Castleisland and the Breton town of Bannalec in 2003 which led to the twinning initiative. ©Photograph: John Reidy 5-6-2003

Castleisland will take place on this Friday evening, March 15th at 7.30pm in the River Island Hotel.

The twinning of these two market towns in Brittany and South West Ireland respectively has been active for almost 20 years.

However, like most things, the twinning exchanges have become yet another victim of the Covid era restrictions.

The Castleisland Twinning Committee is very keen to reactivate the two-way visits which became an integral part of the initiative taken in the early 2000s.

Invitation to Become Involved

“We would like to invite people to become involved in our twinning with Bannalec in Brittany, France,” said Hugh O’Connell.

“It is not necessary to be able to speak French to participate in the twinning, as many of our guests from Bannalec are fluent English speakers.

“Bannalec is a small market town in Brittany, France and similar in many ways to Castleisland.

“Both communities have much in common; we have a common Celtic background, which is very much acknowledged and celebrated by both communities,” said Hugh.

Twinning Promoted Locally

Both towns are situated quite close to well-known international tourist destinations i.e. Killarney and Pont Aven.

The twinning is promoted by our local committee in Castleisland, with the support of Kerry County Council. The committee has a permanent display situated in the local civic offices in Castleisland. “This gives the locals of Castleisland and surrounding areas an opportunity to view and understand the important cultural links between both communities.

Before Covid, groups of up to 20 people from Bannalec visited Castleisland every second year, with a group from Castleisland travelling to Bannalec on the alternate years.

Three or Four Day Stays

The guests from Bannalec normally stay for three to four days and have attended many local events in Castleisland and in Kerry generally.

“They have experienced the Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival in Castleisland along with events in Siamsa Tire; Dingle peninsula; the Ring of Kerry; Muckross House and Killarney House and Castleisland coursing and many other events and attractions,” said Hugh.

For more information on the twinning contact: Hugh on 085 1740677 or Maggie on 087 6185022.

First Explored and Proposed in 2003

A proposal to twin Castleisland with the Bannalec area of Brittany was first made in June 2003 by the then Sliabh Luachra ADM manager, Eamon O’Reilly. When he moved from Castleisland this was one of the batons he passed to his replacement, Sean Linnane. Mr. Linnane then took a fresh look at the possibility of twinning the two areas.

Similar in size, industry, music and sport to Castleisland, the area holds a festival every August 15th. to remember disappearing crafts and traditional practices. The first trip from Castleisland took place in June 2005.

Relations Between Celtic Traditions

Ancient wedding customs are part of the festival and of course there are music and dance clubs with the bagpipes prominent among the instruments favoured there.

Early correspondence from the Breton side in 2003 informed potential twins that the project is not a tourist orientated undertaking. Its purpose is to establish friendly relations between two Celtic traditions which have been separated for too long for historical reasons.

Relationships, they stressed, would be based on exchange in order to enhance conviviality, better knowledge of natural and cultural environment and the low cost of visits.

You can contact The Maine Valley Post on… Anyone in The Maine Valley Post catchment area who would like to send us news and captioned photographs for inclusion can send them to: Queries about advertising and any other matters regarding The Maine Valley Post can also be sent to that address or just ring: 087 23 59 467.